© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A worker at the German manufacturer of silos and liquid tankers, Feldbinder Special Vehicles, moves aluminum coils at the company’s Winsen plant.
BERLIN (Reuters) – German factory activity grew at the fastest pace on record in March, a survey showed on Thursday, although the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal last week could delay the arrival of raw materials and extend times delivery of suppliers. IHS Markit’s final Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, reached 66.6, matching the record fast reading achieved thanks to an increase in demand from the United States and China. Factories in Europe’s largest economy have been operating during the pandemic almost undisturbed by the closures that have affected the service sector. “It was a record month on many fronts, including new export orders, which have benefited from synchronized rallies in sales to the US and China and have seen an unprecedented number of German manufacturers reporting growth.” said Phil Smith, chief economist at IHS Markit. . He added: “However, the blockade of the Suez Canal could not have come at a worse time, as more than three-quarters of German manufacturers have already reported an increase in lead times for supplies in March, with the possibility for those numbers to rise further due to the backlog of the containers it created and the expected congestion at ports in the coming days and weeks. ”