The New York Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that the Empire State manufacturing survey reached a six-month high in May, climbing from 10.1 in April to 17.8 in May. The result is well above market expectations of a 2-point decline to 8.0.
- New orders and shipments rose, while inventories, prices, and number of employees dipped.
- The data points to an alleviation of the trade war causing goods to go unsold.
- Analysts are unsure whether the reading is a trend reversal or merely an outlier, making reports from this sector particularly important.
New orders rose 2.2 points to 9.7, and shipments rose 7.7 points to 16.3. Inventories saw a major decline of 12.5 points to -4.1, perhaps a result of stockpiled goods during the trade war finally being sold. Chinese goods as well as steel and aluminum are among the goods affected.
Prices paid and received saw a minor decline, and the number of employees index registered a 7.2-point drop to 4.7.
The NY Fed report reveals data contrary to market expectations of further decline in manufacturing, and it’s unclear whether the latest report is a sign that things are picking up or simply an anomaly.
U.S RETAIL SALES (MOM) (APR) ACTUAL: -0.2% VS 1.6% PREVIOUS; EST 0.2%
U.S CORE RETAIL SALES (MOM) (APR) ACTUAL: 0.1% VS 1.2% PREVIOUS; EST 0.7%
NY (MAY) EMPIRE STATE MANUFACTURING INDEX ACTUAL: 17.8 VS 10.1 PREVIOUS; EST 8.0
— Redbox Global (@RedboxWire) May 15, 2019
Gold prices have risen despite the strong report fro the manufacturing sector, with spot gold breaking through the $1,300 mark and last trading at $1,300.42/oz with a high of $1,300.90/oz and a low of $1,293.17/oz, up 0.44%. Interestingly, spot gold broke $1,300 on the release of the March NY Fed Manufacturing Index also, although at that time the index registered sub-expectation activity in the industry.
Rising tensions regarding the possibility of a major deployment of US troops to the Middle East to support the naval task force en route to the Persian Gulf may be contributing to uncertainty regarding geopolitical stability. The stock market is unstable, perhaps a response o the attack on two Saudi oil tankers in the gulf. The US dollar is also up slightly against the Euro with tepid growth in the Eurozone economy.