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US business activity improves as euro zone gauge raises concerns about recession, says Reuters.

US Business Activity Rises, Euro Zone Faces Recession Concerns

US Business Activity Shows Improvement, Euro Zone Dips

Business activity in the United States saw an uptick in October, while the euro zone experienced a surprising downturn. These surveys highlight the diverging paths of central bankers in the two regions and raise concerns about a potential recession in the euro zone.

US Manufacturing Sector Rebounds, Services Activity Accelerates

The US manufacturing sector pulled out of a five-month contraction due to an increase in new orders, and services activity also showed modest acceleration. Additionally, there were signs of easing inflationary pressures.

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The flash US Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) by S&P Global rose to 51.0 in October, surpassing the 50 level that separates expansion and contraction. This is the highest level since July and indicates the resilience of the US economy despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to combat inflation through interest rate hikes.

Economists, until recently, expected the rate hikes to trigger a recession and higher unemployment rates. However, the US economy has continued to grow throughout the year, and the S&P Global survey suggests that this momentum has carried over into the fourth quarter.

Euro Zone Faces Recession Concerns

On the other hand, the euro zone witnessed a decline in business activity as demand dropped across the region. This has raised concerns about a potential recession in the bloc.

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The flash euro zone Composite PMI, compiled by S&P Global, fell to 46.5 in October, its lowest since November 2020. This reading was below expectations and suggests a broad-based downturn in the region.

Germany, the largest economy in Europe, experienced a contraction in business activity for the fourth consecutive month. The decline in manufacturing was accompanied by a renewed decline in services. In France, the second-largest economy in the euro zone, business activity remained in contraction territory, albeit with slight improvement compared to the previous month.

In Britain, outside the European Union, businesses reported another decline in activity, highlighting the risk of a recession ahead of the Bank of England’s interest rate decision next week.

US Economy Shows Hope of a Soft Landing

The improved situation seen in the US economy in October brings hopes of a soft landing. The US output growth signaled at the start of the fourth quarter is good news, especially considering the downbeat economic indicators of recent months. The S&P Global PMI survey suggests that the US economy is withstanding the surge in interest rates and is on track for sustained growth.

Uncertain Outlook for the Euro Zone

The euro zone’s poor start to October raises concerns about the region’s economic outlook. This downturn comes after showing early signs of recovery in September. If this trend continues, it poses downside risks to the already stagnant growth forecast for the fourth quarter.

The European Central Bank’s meeting this week will likely be influenced by the disappointing flash PMI data. Market pricing suggests that ECB President Christine Lagarde’s ‘higher-for-longer’ interest rate narrative may not be sustainable as previously expected.

Geopolitical Tensions Pose Risks to Global Economy

Amidst the economic uncertainties, World Bank President Ajay Banga highlighted the downside risk to growth and upside risk to inflation due to geopolitical tensions. The ongoing military campaign in Gaza following an attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are potential triggers for regional conflicts.

In conclusion, while the US economy shows signs of resilience and hopes for a soft landing, the euro zone faces concerns about a potential recession. Geopolitical tensions further add to the uncertain global economic outlook.

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