Thursday, 2 February 2006

Global manufacturing stays robust in January

The latest indicators from the US show that economic activity remains relatively robust even as the housing market continues to cool. From Reuters:

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of manufacturing activity fell to 54.8 in January, from December's 55.6 reading. The index has stayed above 50, a reading denoting expansion, for about three years...

A separate report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed construction spending rose 1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.161 trillion from an upwardly revised $1.149 trillion in November...

The Mortgage Bankers Association said U.S. mortgage applications fell for the first time in four weeks last week led by a decline in home purchase loads as interest rates for the first time since November...

In a separate housing report, the National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in December, fell to 116.4, down 3 percent from November, and at its lowest since February 2004.

Globally, manufacturing stayed relatively strong as well, with the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI for January reading 54.4, unchanged from December. The euro-zone PMI was 53.5, down slightly from December's 53.6. The UK PMI was 51.7, up from 51.3 in December. China's PMI also edged up to 50.2 from 50.1 in December.

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