The New York Fed’s release of the Empire State Manufacturing Survey shows surprisingly strong activity in the manufacturing sector for January. The report indicated general business conditions rising from 3.3 to 4.8, well above market expectations of 3.55.
- Business activity rose well above expectations in January 2020’s NY Fed Manufacturing Survey.
- Optimism remains subdued according to the NY Fed.
- Prices saw a significant uptick, while activity in other components was more moderate.
Growth has seen modest acceleration this month. This is partially due to activity in new orders, which rose five points to 6.6. Shipments saw a modest rise to 8.6, and unfilled orders saw a major 11 point gain, but remained in negative territory at -2.7, indicating ongoing contraction. Delivery times were shorter this month, and inventories saw no change.
The index showing the number of employees remained at 9.0, showing the fifth month of growth in a row. The average workweek saw no change at 1.3. The prices paid index saw a major increase of 31.5, recovering from last month’s multi-year low and reaching 31.5. Prices paid rose 010 points to 14.4. Meanwhile, optimism reportedly remains subdued.
Business activity grew to a small degree in New York State, according to firms responding to the January 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. #ESMShttps://t.co/Mq2NdBt6d7 pic.twitter.com/jPgHPeHTwc
— New York Fed (@NewYorkFed) January 15, 2020
The six-month outlook was restrained, while the index for future shipments rose 5 points to 2.7, indicating expectations of modest growth in shipments, employment, and hours worked. Capital expenditures remained at 25.3, and technology spending dropped 5 points to 22.6.
The NY Fed noted that "Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that optimism about future conditions remained restrained. The index for future business conditions edged down three points to 23.6."
Gold prices have risen despite the fairly upbeat manufacturing report as well as a separate report released on Wednesday indicating tame inflation pressures. Spot gold last traded at $1,550.31, up 0.51% with a high of $1,555.88/oz and a low of $1,543.97/oz.
Geopolitical concerns are likely behind today’s gain, with all eyes on the partial trade agreement due to be signed by the US and China later today. The specifics of the deal are, as of yet, unknown, and concerns around tariffs being phased out slowly rather than immediately lifted have led to downward momentum in the stock markets and upward momentum in the price of gold and silver.