When central bankers from around the world gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming later this week, they will be confronting fresh data suggesting the global economy is at risk of sliding into recession.
Surveys of purchasing managers from Asia to Europe, and in the U.S., show business activity contracting, with little sign of a turnaround anytime soon.
U.S. private-sector business contracted for a second straight month in August and is at its weakest in 18-months, with notable weakness in the services sector. S&P Global's flash composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for August dropped to 45 this month — the lowest since May 2020 — from a final reading of 47.4 in July. Any reading below 50 suggests a contraction.
European business activity also declined for a second month in a row, amid a steep rise in energy prices. The eurozone flash PMI fell to 49.2 in August from 49.9 in July, hitting an 18-month low. Businesses in both manufacturing and services reported a decline in new orders pointing to future weakness.
S&P Global’s surveys indicated that private-sector activity in Japan and Australia also declined in August for the first time since a wave of new COVID-19 infections at the start of the year.