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Global manufacturing confidence looks fragile again, led by China

Manufacturing , China

Global new orders tentatively softened to -0.48 (from -0.44), the lowest since April this year, while inventories destocking continued for a fourth consecutive month, driven by the US and Japan. 

"Our forward-looking new orders less finished goods inventories suggests a slight decline from July, to -0.51 (from -0.49), driven solely and significantly by China", says Barclays.

The preliminary reading of the August Barclays global manufacturing confidence points to a third consecutive slowdown in August, to -0.63 from -0.52, as China's manufacturing sector deteriorated to the worst level since March 2009 and the US manufacturing confidence declined further in August, reinforcing that Q3 expansion will be modest, says Barclays. 

In terms of regional details, China unquestionably provides the most alarming red light; the 'flash' Markit PMI fell to 47.1, the lowest level in 77 months, as new orders plunged to 46.3 and export new orders and output weakened notably as well. In addition, inventories edged slightly upward, such that the gap between new orders and inventories dropped 2.4 points, to -3.3. 

In the US, the 'flash' Markit PMI dropped to 52.9 from 53.8 in July, on softer new orders and production, while sales this month were relatively solid, leading to a notable destocking. In Japan, August 'flash' PMIs suggest an improvement to 51.9 (from 51.2, final reading in July), on a strong boost to new orders (which have tentatively risen to 53.2 from 50.9), and a notable destocking.

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