The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index has come in lower than expected with a reading of 55.4 compared to the predicted level of 55.7. This marks a 3-month low for the index which is used as a measure of the general health of the manufacturing industry.
IHS Markit states that growth in November has ben robust despite the moderate slowdown.
- The drop is attributed to limited production growth and a comparatively slow rate of inventory accumulation during November.
- Capacity constraints and stretched supply chains reportedly held back progress according to several of the survey respondents.
- Average cost burdens appear to be spiking based on the current data.
The Manufacturing Output Index is also at a three-month low with a reading of 54.5 compared to 55.2 in October, while the Composite Output Index and the Services Business Index are both at two-month lows.
Manufacturing companies saw further growth with robust increases in output, new work, and employment during November. The most recent increase in new orders was the fastest for six-months with job creation at an 11-month high compared to the softer trend seen in services.
Despite that growth, the index eased back compared to last month due to weaker production growth and slower inventory accumulation. Manufacturers responding to the survey stated that client confidence and demand had made the difference in last month’s stronger reading, with supply chain pressure slowing things down this month.
Continued Effects of Trade War
Manufacturers made a note of the strong demand for raw materials and higher prices for metals due to the trade-war tariffs, with a sharp rise in cost burdens observed in general as the international dispute between the US and China continues to drive up prices and create consumer and investor uncertainty.
Despite all this, inflation has eased off slightly compared to the rise seen in October.
Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit said:
“Solid flash PMI numbers for November add to evidence that the US is enjoying sustained robust economic growth in the fourth quarter. The surveys are broadly consistent with the economy growing at an annualized rate of 2.5%, building further on the country’s best growth spell since 2014 seen in the second and third quarters.”
Williamson went on to make a note of some red flags which he feels may indicate an economic slowdown in the coming months, with the growth of hiring waning and a slightly less positive outlook observed from companies, but points out that some pull-back was to be expected following October given the record highs seen in orders, production, and employment. Overall, Williamson states that the data should be viewed by policymakers in a positive light.
“With growth remaining reassuringly robust and price pressures elevated, policymakers will be encouraged that the economy has so far withstood both the headwinds of trade war worries and the steady progress made to date towards normalizing interest rates.”
As expected, gold price action has seen little activity following the celebration of Thanksgiving yesterday. Gold prices have seen little reaction to the news with spot gold trading at $1,223.58/oz and down 0.18% on the day while December Comex Futures are trading at $1,224.20/oz and down 0.31% on the day.