January surveys of global factory activity released showed the new year began much as the old one ended, with too much capacity chasing too little demand.
Global manufacturing expansion accelerated slightly but remained weak at the start of 2016 as faster growth in developed markets failed to offset a contraction in emerging economies.
China was again the epicenter of disappointment. The official measure of manufacturing fell to its lowest since mid- 2012. The weakness also encompassed bellwethers of high-tech trade, such as South Korea and Taiwan. China is South Korea’s largest market, taking about a quarter of its exports. The story was much the same for another electronics hub, Taiwan, where factory growth slowed amid lackluster demand.