Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Activity Grew at the Slowest Pace since September 2009

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U.S. manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace since September 2009, according to preliminary figures from Markit. The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI decreased from 51.5 in March to 50.8 in April. In general, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad have dampened international demand and overall sentiment over the course of the past year. Manufacturing activity has decelerated significantly over the past 12 months, with the main PMI number down from 54.2 in April 2015. In this report, output (down from 51.4 to 50.3) and hiring (down from 52.1 to 50.2) each pulled back to a near-standstill, with exports (down from 50.0 to 48.5) contracting for the second time in the past three months. On the other hand, new orders (down from 52.8 to 52.0) continued to expand modestly, but with some easing for the month.

As such, this report stands in sharp contrast to the better-than-expected sentiment seen in the competing data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). In that release, new orders and output each grew surprisingly strong in March, lifting its manufacturing PMI value above 50 for the first time since August. It provided some encouragement after months of softness, even as other economic data – including this one from Markit – continue to suggest ongoing challenges. Read More

Markit US PMI

Markit: U.S. Manufacturing Activity in February Eased to its Slowest Pace since October 2012

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The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI fell to its slowest pace in more than three years in February, a sign that challenges hitting the sector have not yet abated. The composite measure declined from 52.4 in January to 51.0 in February, and in general, manufacturing activity has decelerated over the course of the past year, down from 55.1 in February 2015. On the positive side, new orders (down from 53.6 to 51.7), output (down from 53.2 to 51.3) and employment (down from 52.8 to 51.5) expanded somewhat, just not as far as we might prefer, with the rate of growth slowing in February for each. On the other hand, exports (down from 51.1 to 49.1) returned to negative territory after two months of progress, a sign of just how much the stronger dollar and weaknesses abroad have dampened international demand and overall sentiment. Read More


Manufacturing Production Rebounded in January from Declines in November and December

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Manufacturing production rose 0.5 percent in January, rebounding from softness in the second half of 2015 and providing a little encouragement at the start of the new year. Manufacturing activity remains softer-than-desired, particularly given difficulties in growing export demand and with falling commodity prices. Over the course of the past year, manufacturing output has increased 1.2 percent, representing some progress from the 0.5 percent pace observed in the prior report. Yet, production has slowed considerably since January 2015, when the year-over-year rate was a more-robust 4.3 percent. Capacity utilization for manufacturers rose from 75.8 percent in December to 76.1 percent in January. 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

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

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

Manufacturing Productivity Declined for the Second Straight Quarter

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that labor productivity in the manufacturing sector fell 1.1 percent in the first quarter, declining for the second straight quarter. This latest streak ended 11 consecutive quarters with positive productivity growth. The reduction in labor productivity in the sector in the first quarter stemmed from a 1.2 percent decrease in output, with the number of hours worked edging down 0.1 percent. As a result, unit labor costs increased 2.7 percent on higher real compensation costs. The year-over-year data were perhaps more encouraging, with labor productivity rising 1.4 percent, output up 3.8 percent and unit labor costs down 0.7 percent. Read More

Markit: Slower Manufacturing Data in China, Europe and the U.S. in April

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Manufacturing activity in China contracted for the fourth time in the past five months, according to preliminary data from Markit. The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI dropped from 49.6 in March to 49.2 in April, its lowest level in 12 months. The decline stemmed largely from reduced domestic demand, with the new orders index down from 49.3 to 49.2. The employment index (up from 47.4 to 48.0) has now reflected contracting levels of hiring for 20 straight months. On the positive side, new export orders (up from 49.0 to 50.6) shifted to a slight expansion in April, and output (down from 50.8 to 50.4) expanded ever-so slightly, albeit at a slower pace this month. Read More

Manufacturing Production Edged Marginally Higher in March

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Manufacturing production increased 0.1 percent in March, according to the Federal Reserve Board. This followed three months of weaker data, including declines in both January and February. There have been some significant headwinds hitting the manufacturing sector over the past few months, including a strong U.S. dollar, weakened economic markets abroad, lower crude oil prices, the West Coast ports slowdown and weather. It is clear that these challenges have slowed activity in the sector since November. The year-over-year pace of manufacturing production in March was 2.4 percent, down from 4.5 percent in November. In addition, manufacturing capacity utilization was unchanged at 77.1 percent, down from 78.1 percent in November. Read More