Factories in Asia and Europe expanded in July at the weakest rate since major industrial powers were struggling through the 2009 recession, adding to concerns over world growth.
While stock markets rose on signs of a last minute solution that would avoid a U.S. debt default, manufacturing purchasing managers indexes (PMIs) provided the latest evidence of a slowing global economy.
The euro zone manufacturing PMI, which gauges the activities of thousands of businesses, fell to 50.4 in July from 52.0 in June -- its worst showing since September 2009 and barely above the 50 mark dividing growth and contraction.
Perhaps more worryingly, China's official government PMI dropped to 50.7 from 50.9 in June, its weakest in more than two years, while the HSBC PMI fell below the 50 mark for the first time in a year -- to 49.3 in July from 51.6.
China was the main engine of growth as the developed world sank into recession after the 2008 financial crisis and signs of a slowdown there would worsen the global outlook at a time when both the U.S. and European economies are struggling with debt crises. (more)