“The August 2015 level is 8,6% lower than July, and although about 7% better than August 2014 (one month after the strikes had ended) it is still nearly 13% lower than August 2013. The distortive effects of the instability during 2014 are still obvious,” MrLangenhoven said.

Of concern however, is the fact that both the overall index and the business activity subindex shows that confidence in August this year was lower than July;

The overall PMI declined by 5%;
Expected business conditions for the next 12 months declined by 17%;
Business activity is lower by 9%;
Suppliers’ performance is lower by 5%; and
The Employment indicator is down by 3,6%.

The only ray of light was that a new balance seems to have been found between ‘new orders’ and ‘inventories’. The former has improved by 6,5% for the year (albeit only 1,6% in August) and the order backlogs have been worked down (-12%), while inventory levels have declined over the year by 15,4% (with a slight increase in August).

As a result the so-called ‘leading indicator’ of the PMI (ratio of new orders to inventories) has improved by 20% in August and is close to 1 (which means that new orders and inventories are in balance).

“Future data releases will tell us whether a lower turning point has been reached or more pain is in store for the sector,” Mr Langenhoven concluded.