LONDON—The economic recovery in the 19-country eurozone lost steam in January, a closely watched survey found Wednesday, a sign that the turmoil in global financial markets is beginning to weigh on business activity.
Financial information company Markit said its purchasing managers’ index — a broad gauge of activity across both the manufacturing and services sectors — fell to a four-month low of 53.6 points in January from 54.3 the previous month.
According to Markit, that means the region has started off the year growing at a modest 0.4 percent quarterly tick. Rates of growth also diverged, with Spain once again leading the pack, followed by Germany. France appears to be stagnating.
For those who have been following the recent ISM reports, one of the recurring concerns of respondents in both the manufacturing and service sector has been the congestion at West Coast Ports – which handled 43.5% of containerized cargo in the U.S and where transiting cargo accounted for 12.5% of US GDP – as a result of reduced work output by the local unions who have been more focused in recent weeks on ongoing wage hike negotiations.
And according to the latest update from the 29 west coast ports that serve as the entry point of the bulk of Asia/Pac trade into and out of the US, things are about to get far worse for America’s manufacturing base, because as RILA reported earlier, talks between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) representing port management, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) officially broke down on Wednesday, and without an agreement, experts have suggested that nearly 30 west coast ports could be shut down within a week. Continue reading