IHS Markit’s PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) surveys indicated a sustained expansion of the global economy in September, though trends varied by sector. Output rose in 18 of the 25 manufacturing and service sub-sectors covered by the PMIs during September, led by automakers. Of the seven deteriorating sectors, tourism and recreation firms remained in the deepest downturn amid ongoing Coronavirus pandemic containment precautions.
Encouraging was a further improvement in demand for machinery and equipment and construction materials, hinting at rising investment spending. Autos lead upturn, tourism and recreations suffer amid ongoing restrictions.
Automakers led the upturn as increasing numbers of factories opened up further production capacity and car sales revived as showrooms reopened after lockdowns. New orders for autos and parts showed the largest monthly gain since December 2009 while production surged at a rate not seen since December 2010.
Banking services recorded the second strongest rate of growth of all sectors, reflecting in part the reviving need for financial intermediation as economies sprang back into life in the third quarter. Business activity in the banking sector rose at the fastest rate since last November.
Healthcare services were consequently pushed to the third place, though they continued to perform strongly amid the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Household and personal use products also fared well.
Similarly, real estate service providers also reported above-average growth again in September, as housing market transactions rose following the lifting of lockdowns. However, the rate of increase slowed compared to August’s near-three-year high.
By no means all sectors have benefitted from the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, however, with tourism and recreation services in particular still languishing at the foot of the global rankings, hit once again in September by ongoing social distancing measures.
More encouragingly, media – which has been the second hardest hit sector after tourism and recreation in the year-to-date — saw output rise for a third successive month in September as production resumed at increasing numbers of companies.