Global manufacturing remained weak at the end of 2019, signaling a tougher 2020. Growth in production was marginal, with some exceptions such as India, Vietnam and Myanmar. The PMI indicators suggest waning business confidence and consumer spending which led to cutbacks in purchasing of input materials, reductions in inventory and weaker employment. The US manufacturing economy was one exception, growing despite concern over geopolitical tension. While China continued to suffer the effects of the trade war, it had a solid Q4, perhaps due to the pre-Chinese New Year peak period. If the US and China can work out a deal in Q4 the global economic climate might improve, but the odds are against this happening.
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