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Greece Factory Sector Continues To Contract

Greece's manufacturing sector continued to contract in March, the but the pace of decline eased, survey results released by Markit Economics revealed Monday.

The headline Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector rose to 41.3 from February's record low 37.7. A PMI reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

New orders received by the Greek manufacturers declined for the thirty-first month in a row, but not as severe as the record fall in February. Concerns over non-payment marred the business climate and underlying demand was weak, especially in the domestic market, the survey found.

Sales went on declining sharply and factories lowered production. Purchasing activity was reduced and manufacturers largely tapped into their stock of raw materials and semi-manufactured goods. Finished goods inventories were lower due to the pressure to cut costs linked to holding excess capacity.

Factories shed jobs to the greatest extent since March 2009 owing to less workload. Input costs increased strongly, while output prices were cut at the fastest rate in nearly three years due to weak business climate and the need to boost order volumes.

"With little sign of frozen credit lines thawing, and austerity continuing to severely impact on general demand, it remains difficult to see how Greece's manufacturing sector will be able to snap the current period of contraction any time soon," Markit Senior Economist Paul Smith said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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