US Manufacturing Less Than Impressive

Alan Penny

16 December 2019

2 min read

dollar bills and American flag

  • Empire State Manufacturing Index released
  • Flash Manufacturing PMI also released
  • Flash Services PMI released

The US manufacturing sector released some figures showing that things are still quite mixed in the United States. However, it does look to be somewhat expansionary. Investors in the market are likely to look at this as a scenario that is worth paying attention to. It’s worth noting that there are still so many larger issues out there that this is just another piece of the puzzle.

The figures

The Empire State Manufacturing Index was released during the trading session on Monday at 3.5, much less than the 5.1 expected. Although weaker than anticipated, it is much better than the 2.9 that was announced during the previous month. That is a good sign, as it shows that manufacturing is picking up in the northeastern part of the United States.

That is a good sign, as it shows that manufacturing is picking up in the northeastern part of the United States.

Flash Manufacturing PMI came out during the trading session as well, reading 52.5, as opposed to the expected 52.6 figure. It is slightly better but not enough to get excited about. The previous month was revised from 52.2 upwards to the 52.6 level. The Flash Services PMI figure also came out at the same time, showing a reading of 52.2, slightly better than the anticipated 52 for the month. All things being equal though, this is somewhat of a sideshow.

The market going forward

The markets will look at this as a minor set of figures, but it’s likely that the market will continue to focus on other things such as the US/China trade negotiation. Even though the so-called “Phase 1 deal” has supposedly been agreed upon, there are still a lot of questions as to where the deal goes from here.

If the situation turns around and suddenly the deal ends up not being very likely, then these manufacturing numbers will probably be yet another negative influence on the overall attitude of stock markets and risk appetite in general.

If the deal does continue to go forward a lot of people will probably look at these softer than expected economic figures in the United States as something that is only “transitory”. Meanwhile, the market is more or less in a holding pattern, trying to figure out where to go next. It’s probably best to look at this as an announcement that is to be put into the back of the mind, more than anything else.

Unfortunately, the market is still held hostage to the overall attitude of trade negotiators. The reaction to these figures was somewhat muted in what has been a very positive day for stock markets. This will likely be an economic announcement that people will be looking at next month to see if there has been any bump higher.

Written By
Alan Penny

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