US MANUFACTURING SLOWS
The preliminary results of Markit's monthly U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index survey point to a larger-than-expected slowdown in the pace of expansion in manufacturing output this month.
The report's headline gauge fell to 55.5 from the February survey's 57.1 reading. The consensus forecast of market economists was that the index would fall, but only to 56.5.
Table 1 shows a complete breakdown of the PMI's sub-component indices. The output, new orders, new export orders, and employment components all moderated a bit, while the backlogs of work and quantity of purchases components registered larger declines.
"The manufacturing PMI adds to evidence that the sector has shrugged off the weather-related weakness seen earlier the year, with strong demand encouraging firms to expand and hire new staff at a robust pace," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, in the release.
"The buoyant growth in March rounds off the bestquarter for three years, indicating that the sectorshould provide a robust contribution to GDP in thefirst quarter. Growth was not as strong as February,but that’s in many respects only to be expectedafter last month’s numbers had been boosted bythe rebound from January’s severe weather. Thefact that the output and new orders indicesremained so strong in March is very encouragingnews that the sector has come through theweather-related soft patch and continues to play anincreasingly important role in the economic upturn."