Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Activity Grew at its Slowest Pace in More than Two Years

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Activity grew at its slowest pace in more than two years, according to the most recent Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI. The composite measure fell from 52.8 in November to 51.3 in December, its lowest level since October 2013. New orders (down from 53.1 to 50.5) and output (down from 54.8 to 52.7) each eased for the month, with sales expanding just barely. On the other hand, exports (up from 49.4 to 50.5) returned to positive territory after contracting in the prior month, and hiring (up from 52.7 to 53.0) picked up modestly. Stronger labor market data possibly provide some reassurance for a sector that has seen virtually no job gains since January.

Meanwhile, the news was even more encouraging in Europe. The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI edged up from 52.8 to 53.1, its highest point since April 2014. More importantly, new orders (up from 53.4 to 54.0), output (up from 53.9 to 54.4) and exports (up from 52.8 to 53.0) each continuing moving in the right direction, notching up decent expansions in key indicators. Employment (down from 51.9 to 51.8) slowed a bit, but the underlying trend on the jobs front reflects a positive trend over the longer term. These data reflect slightly accelerated activity in Germany (up from 52.9 to 53.0), its highest level since August, and France (up from 51.0 to 51.4).

Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Activity Eased to a Two-Year Low in November

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After rebounding somewhat in October, activity pulled back again in November, according the most recent Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI data. The composite measure declined from 54.1 in October to 52.6 in November, its lowest level since October 2013. The headline index peaked for the year at 55.7 in March, with activity decelerating since then. Exports (down from 51.6 to 49.5) returned to negative territory in November, a sign of just how much the stronger dollar and weaknesses abroad have dampened international demand and overall sentiment. Other indices reflected slower growth for the month, even as there continued to be modest expansions in activity. This included new orders (down from 55.5 to 53.1), output (down from 55.4 to 54.6) and employment (down from 52.9 to 51.9). Read More

Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Activity Rose to a 5-Month High in October

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Activity rebounded in October in the United States, with the Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI jumping to its highest level since May. The composite measure rose from 53.1 in September to 54.0 in October, boosted by stronger output growth (up from 53.7 to 54.0) and a shift to slightly positive exports (up from 49.8 to 50.6). At the same time, new orders (down from 54.7 to 54.0) and employment (down from 52.2 to 51.4) both eased a bit for the month. These data suggest modest growth in demand and production for manufacturers in the U.S., even as the rate of growth for each remains slower than what was observed in the spring. The headline index peaked at 55.7 in March year-to-date, with the output index measuring a fairly robust 58.2 that month, but activity has decelerated since then on a number of global economic headwinds. Read More

Markit: China’s Manufacturing Sector Slowed Once More, Down to its Lowest Level Since March 2009

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The Caixin Flash China General Manufacturing PMI declined from 47.8 in July to 47.1 in August, its lowest level since March 2009. The Chinese manufacturing sector continues to struggle, with its PMI data contracting for the sixth consecutive month. Manufacturing activity was down across-the-board, including new orders (down from 47.2 to 46.3), output (down from 47.1 to 46.6), exports (down from 46.9 to 46.0) and employment (down from 47.2 to 46.0). The new orders figure was also at a post-recessionary low. Indeed, a number of economic statistics continue to reflect decelerating activity levels, particularly relative to the paces observed earlier in the year or last year. These include industrial production, fixed asset investments and retail sales. With that in mind, the Bank of China has devalued the yuan, down 2.9 percent in the past two weeks, and the Shanghai Composite Stock Market Index has plummeted more than 32 percent since June 12. Such sharp moves have prompted growth worries in financial markets around the world. Read More

Markit: Chinese Manufacturing Activity Slipped Further into Negative Territory in July

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The Caixin Flash China General Manufacturing PMI dropped from 49.4 in June to 48.2 in July, its lowest level since April 2014. Chinese manufacturing activity has now contracted in 7 of the past 8 months, continuing a deceleration trend in that nation’s economy. Indeed, all of the PMI subcomponents were in negative territory in July, with most of them slipping further. This included new orders (down from 50.3 to 48.1), output (down from 49.7 to 47.3) and exports (down from 50.3 to 46.6), with domestic and foreign demand declining once again after stabilizing slightly in June. Employment (up from 46.6 to 47.4) fell at a slower pace for the month, and yet, hiring has now decreased in 27 of the past 28 months. These data are consistent with recent economic indicators from China, which have reflected slower growth, particularly relative to the rates experienced at the end of last year or earlier. Read More

Monday Economic Report – June 29, 2015

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Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:

Last week, there were several reminders that the manufacturing sector has not recovered fully from economic weaknesses earlier in the year, even as business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about activity in the coming months. Durable goods orders declined 1.8 percent in May, extending April’s 1.5 percent decrease. Much of this softness stemmed from reduced aircraft sales, with orders excluding transportation modestly higher. Nonetheless, durable goods demand has been quite weak for much of the past year. On the positive side, we would expect stronger durable goods orders in the June data, with the recent Paris Air Show lifting aircraft sales, and the broader measure, which excludes transportation, has edged marginally higher over the past three months. We hope that this is the start of a rebound. Read More

Markit: Eurozone Manufacturers Report Fastest Growth since April 2014

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The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI increased from 52.2 in May to 52.5 in June, its fastest pace of growth since April 2014. (The composite measure, which adds in services, rose to a 49-month high.) For manufacturers, output (up from 53.3 to 53.5) and employment (up from 51.6 to 52.0) both edged higher, with each expanding modestly. At the same time, there were slight easings for new orders (down from 52.7 to 52.5) and exports (down from 53.2 to 52.6). Nonetheless, the underlying story is a positive one, with Europe making significant progress in recent months and brushing off possible risks from Greece. With that said, robust growth continues to be elusive, with real GDP up 0.4 percent in the first quarter and industrial production up just 0.1 percent in April. On a year-over-year basis, the Eurozone grew 1.0 percent, with industrial output up 0.8 percent. Read More

Global Manufacturing Economic Update – June 11, 2015

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Here is the summary for this month’s Global Manufacturing Economic Update: 

There continue to be mixed assessments of the economy, including from reports released last week. For instance, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) lowered its forecasts to 2.0 percent growth for the United States, with the global economy growing just 3.1 percent. This fell from the 3.1 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, seen in its November 2014 outlook. It also mirrors the downgrade of the National Association of Business Economists’ (NABE) estimated U.S. growth this year, from 3.1 percent in the March survey to 2.4 percent now. Business leaders were also less upbeat in the latest National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, with the headline index down from 59.9 in the first quarter to 51.7 in the second quarter. Read More

Monday Economic Report – May 26, 2015

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Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:

The minutes of the April 28–29 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting highlighted the nuance that many of us see in the economy right now. The Federal Reserve highlighted a number of challenges facing consumers and businesses in the early months of 2015, noting how these headwinds have dampened overall activity year-to-date. On the other hand, the FOMC felt that slowing economic growth was largely due to “transitory factors,” with its outlook mostly unchanged for the rest of this year. The Federal Reserve projects growth of 2.3 to 2.7 percent in 2015, and it expects the unemployment rate to fall to 5.0 to 5.2 percent.   Read More

Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Activity Slowed in May; Europe Improved, but China Contracted Once More

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The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI declined from 54.1 in April to 53.8 in May, easing to its lowest level since October 2013. It was the second straight monthly deceleration in manufacturing activity, and the slowing in May reflected slower growth in new orders (down from 55.3 to 54.2) and output (down from 55.3 to 55.0). Exports (up from 48.8 to 49.6) continued to contract, but declined by less for the month. On the positive side, hiring (up from 53.7 to 54.3) accelerated to its fastest rate in six months. Moreover, even with some weakening in sentiment, the measures for demand and production growth for U.S. manufacturers remains decent overall. Read More