The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index came in at 3 vs. 4 expected. The report follows other signs of weakness in the manufacturing industry with the Philly Fed Index nearing zero. The consistently poor performance in the industry is leading to concerns of an economic slowdown as the US continues to wage its trade war against China, negatively impacting manufacturing and other major industries.
- The Richmond Fed Index came in flat at 3 vs. 4 expected and 5 in May.
- An inventory overhang as well as the ongoing trade war continue to place pressure on the industry which may be entering a recessionary trend.
Services revenue index saw major gains of 17 in June vs. just 1 in May, while shipments rose 7 compared to 1 the month prior. The number of employees saw slower growth at 2 vs. 17 in May, and prices paid shrunk while prices received increased.
New orders saw little change at 1 in June vs. 0 in May, while the backlog of orders climbed from -4 to 0. Capacity utilization rose from -4 to -2, fender lead times gained 7 from 0, and the average workweek dropped into negative territory at -2 vs. 1 the month prior.
Wages reduced at 21 vs. 38 in May, finished good inventories dropped from 26 to 21, and raw materials inventories dropped from 26 to 21.
Trade War Outlook
Representatives from dozens of major manufacturing companies have spoken out against the Trump administration’s trade war, claiming that it is seriously affecting their livelihood, as well as having long-term negative effects for the economy.
Teresa Hack of Channel products stated that “these tariffs will continue to do irreparable harm to our small business. The Section 301 tariffs from List One and Three have resulted in an unexpected cost of over $600,000, which is significant for a small business like ours. We have determined that an additional cost of the List Four tariffs on our business would be almost $1 million.”
“We support holding US trading partners accountable, and using targeted trade remedies against intellectual property theft, illegal dumping, or subsidies and other proven trade violations consistent with international rules. We also strongly believe that the newly proposed List Four tariffs will only harm US economic interests,” said Kerry Stackpole, Plumbing Manufacturers International
The price of gold has seen strong upward momentum today following ongoing tensions between the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf. Spot gold is trading at $1,423.98/oz, up .6%. Uncertainty in the marketplace regarding the diplomatic conflict may be contributing to the use case for gold as a safe haven asset.