European, Asian factory growth sputters on weakening exports



Rahul Karunakar, Leika Kihara | Reuters

Growth in factory activity slowed across Europe and Asia in September, with export orders weakening before the latest escalation in the U.S.-China trade conflict, in another sign the global economy is shifting into lower gear. Business surveys released on Sunday and Monday showed the pace of expansion slowing across European and Asian factories. Gauges of future activity offered little hope for a turnaround in the next few months. Some of the gloom will be offset by news that the United States and Canada clinched a deal on Sunday to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement, removing one near-term risk to the global outlook. But with neither Beijing nor Washington ready to compromise and the latest tariffs on each other’s goods already imposed, that conflict is a worrying backdrop to a weakening factory expansion in Europe and Asia. Manufacturing growth in the euro zone slowed to a two-year low at the end of the third quarter, according to the latest IHS Markit purchasing managers’ indices.