China’s factory sector shrinks

Global manufacturers floundered this month as new orders slumped, and with survey data also showing services business growth faltering, concerns are rising that the world is headed for a steep downturn.

Personal spending in the United States — where the economy is growing when many in Europe are already contracting — barely rose last month, figures showed on Wednesday, a day after data showed growth was slower than expected in the third quarter.

“A disappointing start to the fourth quarter,” said Pierre Ellis, senior global economist at Decision Economics in New York. “It doesn’t have the strong upward thrust we normally see in a regular recovery.”

China’s once-booming factory sector shrank at its fastest pace in 32 months on signs of domestic weakness, according to similar survey data released earlier, reviving worries about a hard landing there.

Europe’s data looked no better for policymakers battling to control a paralysing debt crisis that has spread from periphery members to the core and is threatening the euro zone’s survival.

The euro zone’s private sector contracted for a third month, purchasing managers’ indices showed, pointing to a fourth quarter economic contraction of 0.5-0.6 percent, according to survey compilers Markit.

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