Polish manufacturing unexpectedly increased in March from the previous month as rising output by companies outweighed a decline in orders and job cuts.
The purchasing managers’ index, a gauge of manufacturing, rose to 50.1 from 50 in February, HSBC Holdings Plc said in an e-mailed statement summarizing the results of a survey by Markit Economics. The median estimate of 21 economists in a Bloomberg survey was 49.7. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a figure below 50 shows a contraction.
Poland’s economy, set to grow at the fastest pace this year among the European Union’s 27 members, is slowing as austerity measures curb growth the euro area, its main export market. Manufacturing has been in “stagnation” since January’s 52.2 reading on PMI broke two months of contraction, HSBC said.
“The PMI is marginally disappointing and fits with expectations of slowing growth in 2012,” Agata Urbanska, a London-based economist at HSBC, said in an e-mailed statement. “It underscores that the stronger January reading was more of an outlier and that the near-term outlook is for stagnation.”
The zloty weakened to 4.1412 per euro as of 10:46 a.m. in Warsaw from 4.1405 before the PMI release and was 0.2 percent stronger from March 30. It has gained 7.8 percent this year, the best performance among all currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
New export orders were flat in March as the EU’s debt crisis creates “tough and unstable” conditions, according to the statement.
Economic expansion will slow to 2.5 percent this year from 4.3 percent in 2011, according to the European Commission, the EU’s executive.