U.S. FLASH PMI, ORDERS WEAKEN

PMI points to weakest manufacturing expansion since last October
Key points:
PMI signals modest improvement in manufacturing business conditions during April
New order growth slows sharply
Weakest rise in output in five months
Rate of input price inflation eases to eight-month low

Manufacturers recorded higher production levels in April, but the rate of output growth slowed further from February’s near one-year peak. Overall, the latest increase in output was moderate and the weakest since last November.

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The slower expansion in manufacturing production partly reflected the weakest rise in new orders for six months. Total new work intakes rose modestly in April and at a much slower pace than the 32-month high recorded in January. However, the weakness in new orders was largely confined to the domestic market, as new export work grew at a stronger rate than one month previously.

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Manufacturing employment continued to rise in April, with a number of firms linking job creation to greater workloads. Although the overall increase in employee numbers was solid, it was nonetheless the weakest monthly rise since last November.

Reflective of the slower rate of new order growth, the quantity of inputs bought by manufacturers rose marginally in April. Stocks of purchases fell, reversing an increase in March. Concurrently, suppliers’ delivery times lengthened over the month, but the latest deterioration in vendor performance was slight.

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