While dollar index held firm above 97 level, gold prices little changed with better than expected manufacturing data released in Asia on Monday. According to data, Japan’s manufacturing PMI, which was still in contraction area, inched up in March while better than expected manufacturing data in China eased worries of sharpest slowdown in the world’s second biggest biggest economy. On the other hand in Europe, weakness in manufacturing PMI in Germany, France and Italy deepened while Eurozone manufacturing PMI slowed down for eight consecutive months and hit the lowest level since April 2013.
Gold prices little changed after manufacturing data released in China was above expectations while weak manufacturing data in Eurozone gave mixed signals of the world economy’s health.
As of 15:13 GMT+3, spot gold was trading at $1,291.87 an ounce while dollar index was at 97.11. U.S. 10-year was higher at 2.44.
According to data released in China on Monday, manufacturing data was above expectations at 50.8 in March, the highest in eight months. As manufacturing finally expands after it contracted at 49.9 in February, domestic and foreign demand was slightly higher with new orders hitting four-month high. If this recovery in manufacturing sustains, worries about Chinese economy slowing down sharply will be eased while it is likely that this recovery, mostly depending on increasing domestic demand rather than foreign one, was due to government’s support to stimulate economy.
Capital Economics senior China economist Julian Evans Pritchard said on CNBC that it was necessary to be cautious as he thought fiscal stimulus started recently by local governments contributed manufacturing. CEBM Group director of macroeconomic analysis Zhengsheng Zhong said, eased financing, government support to private sector and progress in trade talks helped manufacturing to recover from recent weakness.
In the world’s third biggest economy, Japan, manufacturing PMI was higher at 49.2 but still in contraction area in March. As slowing global economy and trade war between the U.S. and China hurt export-dependent Japanese economy, weakness remains in manufacturing which showed the worst performance since May 2016.
In the meantime, weakness in European manufacturing remains weak as well. According to data released today, the Eurozone’s biggest economy Germany’s manufacturing PMI weakened to 44.1 in March, which was the worst performance since July 2012. While German economy was hit by Brexit uncertainty as well as slowing global economy, it was stated that exports and new orders decreased like never seen before since the global recession. In the bloc’s second biggest economy France, manufacturing contracted at 49.7 in March while manufacturing in Italy was at 47.4, the lowest level since May 2013. Thus, Eurozone manufacturing PMI weakened for eight consecutive months as it decreased to 47.5 from February’s 49.3 and showed the worst performance since April 2013.