The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) released a new report on the Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index which gives an insight into the state of the non-manufacturing sector as a whole.
370 purchasing and supply executives in 62 industries were questioned over 9 different SIC sectors with the resulting PMI figure of 60.3 being higher higher than the forecast 59.3. Anything above 50 indicates sector growth while below 50 indicates contraction in the sector, and readings higher than the forecast are usually a bullish indicator for the US dollar and, as such, potentially bearish for the price of gold which is down 0.07% and trading at $1,229.9/oz.
- The Non-Manufacturing PMI registered 60.3%, 1% higher than forecast.
- The index’s jump to 61.6 in September was its fastest recorded expansion ever and the second-highest reading after the first one ever in 1997.
- Indicating strong economic growth, the report falls in line with the recent report on higher-than-expected job growth in the private sector.
The report included information on the Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index which decreased to 62.5% from September’s reading of 65.%. Meanwhile, the New Orders Index came in at 61.5%, just 0.1% lower than September.
The Prices Index decreased 2.5%, moving from September’s 64.2% reading down to 61.7% in October, and the Employment Index also decreased from 62.4% to 59.7%.
The Prices Index reading indicate that prices have increased for 32 months in a row, and the drop in employment is consistent with predictions that the very high rate of growth in the labor market is not sustainable long-term.
ISM Chair Anthony Nieves stated: "The non-manufacturing sector has again reflected strong growth despite a slight cooling off after a record month in September.”
Trade War and Political Concerns
The trade war continues to put a damper on the otherwise high spirits regarding the strong US economy, with the report stating that there are continued concerns about capacity, logistics and tariffs.
A survey respondent from the mining sector said: “It has been very difficult to make decisions due to instability brought by the latest trading dispute. In this environment, clients tend to postpone capital-expenditure decisions.”
Political uncertainty due to the upcoming US midterm elections may also be affecting economic outlook, with the Democratic party forecast to gain a majority in the House while it is expected that the Republican party will continue to dominate the Senate.
A split Congress may have a positive effect on the price of gold, with geopolitical uncertainty leading investors to shun the dollar and seek refuge in commodities.