China's Manufacturing Growth Slows to Four-Month Low

Strong Canadian manufacturing growth maintained in March

A PMI reading of 50 and above indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction. That's still above the 55.3 reading for February but was a tad lower than the Bloomberg consensus of 55.7.

The Caixin survey showed that staff numbers at Chinese manufacturing companies declined at the fastest pace since August amid reports of cost-cutting plans.

In February, the Polish PMI fell for a second consecutive month after reaching an nearly three-year high of 55 in December.

Euro zone economic growth has already peaked, another Reuters poll found last month, but the European Central Bank will probably decide this summer to slash its bond purchases if things develop as expected, policymaker Ewald Nowotny said last week.

Manufacturing conditions improved for the eighth consecutive in March, but at the weakest pace since October.

"Intense supply chain pressures and sharply rising raw material costs have been key headwinds for Canadian manufacturing companies so far this year", IHS Markit associate director Tim Moore, said. However, the ability of manufacturers to make a profit was beefed up by the stable increase in new orders and the much slower jump in input costs.

A new Commerce Department report on USA construction spending showed it increased just 0.1% in February from January's revised level. Growth in new export business (which is not a component of the headline PMI) slipped to a 15-month low, says HIS Markit.

Production levels continued to grow in March, although the rate of increase was the slowest in five months. This is partly caused by the weaker Indonesian rupiah (against the United States dollar). Although the recent United Kingdom manufacturing PMI reading printed better-than-expected, additional activity measures out on 4th and 5th April could end up dragging the GBP/EUR exchange rate down.

Optimism about future output also remained weak in March.

Looking forward, Ling said Singapore's Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth was expected to hit a year-on-year 5.1 percent in the first quarter of 2018, which already incorporates the stronger performance in the first two months of this year. Manufacturers scaled up their purchasing activity in March, though at a slower pace than in February.

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