Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Nov 15 2023

EMU IP Dives in September - Broad-based Weakness

Euro-Area IP is falling in September. The declines are broad across industry groups and across EMU member countries. Industrial output has been volatile among the four largest economies in EMU as well. Despite the clear broad weakness in industrial production the sequential growth rates are not progressively deteriorating. Growth for headline production as well As for manufacturing show contractions over 12-months, over six-months, and over 3-months and the contractions over 3-months are greater than they are over 12-months. But there's a slight revival with less weakness over 6-months compared to 12-months preventing a clear path to deterioration from emerging.

Manufacturing sectors - Looking at sectors in manufacturing consumer durables output fell 8% over 12-months, at 15% annual rate over 6-months and fell at a 10% annual rate over 3-months. Consumer nondurables contracted by 6.8% at an annual rate over 12-months at 10% pace over 6-months and at a 3.5% annual rate over 3-months. Intermediate goods output shows lessening deterioration, as a 4.7% decline over 12-months is reduced to 3.4% over 6-months and is educed to a -2% pace over 3-months. Capital goods output falls by 7.6% over 12-months rises at a strong 23% annual rate over 6-months then plunges at a 9.8% annual rate over 3-months. These are complex patterns. Only capital goods mount any increase in output over any of the horizons, then that rise is reversed. However, there's no persistent deceleration, just scattered ongoing declines that seem to change pace randomly. The chart that plots only year-over-year trends paints a darker picture.

Quarter-to-date - Quarter to date statistics show headline production excluding construction falling 6.5% at an annual rate in the third quarter, manufacturing output falls at an 11.1% annual rate, drop is led by a decline of 11.9% in durable goods output an 8.8% drop in consumer nondurable goods production, with the immediate goods output falling at a 2.6% annual rate and capital goods output declining at a 3.5% annual rate.

Output by sector - All the output comparisons by sector show mixed results when we compare the current level of activity to that prevailing in January 2020 before COVID struck. Consumer nondurables output is stronger, capital goods output is stronger, but consumer durables output is weaker, and intermediate goods output is weaker. If we rank the sectors by their growth rates back to 2006 current performance is weak for all the sectors total and industrial production growth has an 8.3% ranking, manufacturing output growth has an 8.8% ranking, consumer durables growth has an 8.8% ranking, consumer nondurables have a 1% ranking and intermediate goods have a 16.6% ranking; capital goods growth has a 10.2-percentile ranking. The growth performance for this past year is quite weak compared with historic norms and you can see what those growth rates are on the table and see by judging the progressive pace of growth conditions haven't improved very much over 6-months or over 3-months.

The output statistics for countries is similarly weak the reporting remove member countries showing output declining in September except Italy that manages a 0.1% increase in Malta a tiny economy that manages a 1% gain. In August six countries logged output gains month to month well in July output gained in most countries with only six of thirteen showing output declines.

Industrial growth across countries - Sequential growth rates show that weakness has been pervasive. Over 3-months for example only three countries in the monetary union show industrial output increases, over 6-months only two had increases and over 12-months only two show increases. These metrics reveal the broad nature of weakness in the industrial sector within EMU. Similarly with the third quarter data complete there are only two countries with quarter to date increases in output those are Finland with a 5% increase and Malta with a 4.8% increase.

Growth rankings - The rankings for the growth performance of countries over the past year compared with their historic standards show every country below its median result except for tiny Malta that has a standing of 51.2%, just a nudge ahead of its historic median that occurs at a ranking of 50%. Greece, another small economy, manages a ranking of its growth rate that is up 2.1% to a 70.7 percentile standing well above its median. In part, that also underscores how little output increased in Greece that a 2% growth rate could have a 70-percentile standing. Ireland is having its worst performance of the entire period, its a year in which output has fallen by 27%. The median percentile ranking among monetary union members is a ranking of 16.1% the average ranking is a ranking at 22.1% both of these show extreme weakness across the Euro Area in the industrial sector.

There is little in the way of good news in this industrial production report for September. The headline weakness is clear and the weakness spreads across countries and there's little in the report that suggests that this period of weakness is letting up in any way. However, we're at a time where there has been some growing optimism about the US economy gaining its footing and show some inflation progress that an increasing number of market participants are evaluating as evidence that the Fed is done raising interest rates. If that's true, given the size and the importance of the US economy, there could be better news for Europe ahead.

  • Robert A. Brusca is Chief Economist of Fact and Opinion Economics, a consulting firm he founded in Manhattan. He has been an economist on Wall Street for over 25 years. He has visited central banking and large institutional clients in over 30 countries in his career as an economist. Mr. Brusca was a Divisional Research Chief at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY (Chief of the International Financial markets Division), a Fed Watcher at Irving Trust and Chief Economist at Nikko Securities International. He is widely quoted and appears in various media.   Mr. Brusca holds an MA and Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University and a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan. His research pursues his strong interests in non aligned policy economics as well as international economics. FAO Economics’ research targets investors to assist them in making better investment decisions in stocks, bonds and in a variety of international assets. The company does not manage money and has no conflicts in giving economic advice.

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