For those of you for whom it is, Happy New Year.
This Bystander took a short break but the global economic slowdown kept going regardless. We return to find the latest monthly Purchasing Managers Index showing that industrial activity shrank in December for the third month running. At 41.2 the PMI is still well below the 50 level that is the tipping point between manufacturing contracting or expanding, and is in line with recent grim reports of export orders.
The thinnest of silver linings is that the PMI was above November’s record low. Whether that means Beijing’s measures to mitigate the effects of the worldwide slump on China’s economy are starting to work is anyone’s guess at this point. Perhaps we’ll just go away again until this is all over. But we fear that might mean we’d have a couple of years off rather than just a couple of weeks.