After ending 2007 at a two-and-a-half year low of 51.6, the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI* recovered slightly to a four-month high of 52.3 in January. The headline PMI for the US rose back above the 50.0 no change mark, whilst the levels of PMIs for the Eurozone, Japan and China all held broadly steady. Conditions in the UK were comparatively weak, with the UK PMI slipping to a near two-and-a-half year low of 50.6.
January data indicated that rates of growth for production and new orders gained slightly, but remained below their respective averages for 2007 as a whole. Cost inflationary pressure continued to build, with input prices rising at the fastest rate for one-and-a-half years. With conditions still relatively subdued overall, and inflationary pressures rising, world manufacturing employment fell slightly for the first since May 2005.