Asia factories hit by demand, lockdown worries

STORY: Asia’s factories aren’t as busy as they were.

Activity is taking a hit from worries over demand and the fallout from China’s latest lockdowns.

That’s according to new data out Thursday (December 1).

The manufacturing Purchasing Mangers’ Index for China hit 49.4 in November.

That is marginally up on a month before, but still well below the 50-point level that would signify growth.

Japan’s number fell below 50 during the month, marking its first contraction in two years.

And in South Korea factory activity shrank for a fifth month.

Economists see growing risks for Chinese growth, with knock-on effects for global demand.

Though Thursday saw reports that Beijing could ease lockdowns in the wake of rare street protests.

In Europe, there were a few more glimmers of hope.

The manufacturing PMI there stood at 47.1.

That’s still weak, but up on the month before.

Survey compiler S&P Global said the number pointed to a less bleak winter than was originally feared.

Cooling inflation may have helped.

Data out earlier this week showed prices rose less than expected in the euro zone.

The headline rate sank to 10% in November, lower than economists had expected.