Flash US manufacturing PMI at 4-month high

Painted wheelbarrow buckets arrive at the end of the assembly line at the AMES Companies factory in Harrisburg on June 29, 2017.
Painted wheelbarrow buckets arrive at the end of the assembly line at the AMES Companies factory in Harrisburg on June 29, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • US-based manufacturing firms remained in expansion mode this month, with overall business conditions improving at the fastest pace for four months, according to flash estimates released yesterday.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 53.2, from 52.0 last month, supported by accelerated growth in output, new orders and employment. On the other hand, services PMI stood at 54.2 in July, unchanged from the previous month, on the back of an improving economic backdrop and greater willingness to spend, IHS Markit said in a statement yesterday.

Overall, the composite PMI was 54.2 from 53.9 in June, signalling the strongest rate of expansion since January, IHS Markit stated. Readings above 50 indicate growth.

"The July PMI surveys show an economy gaining growth momentum at the start of the third quarter," said Mr Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

"The principal weak spot in the economy remained exports, with foreign goods orders dropping marginally for the first time since last September, often blamed on the strength of the dollar," he said.

Meanwhile, home resales fell more than expected last month as a dearth of properties lifted prices to a record high, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Data showed that existing home sales dropped 1.8 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million units last month, Reuters said. The shortage of properties has led to bidding wars, which have resulted in house price increases outpacing wage gains.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'Flash US manufacturing PMI at 4-month high'. Print Edition | Subscribe