Saturday, 2 May 2009

Manufacturing improves

The pattern of improving global economic data continued on Friday, with manufacturing being an important contributor.

Bloomberg reports the US data.

Measures of U.S. manufacturing and consumer confidence last month unexpectedly jumped to their highest levels since the credit crisis intensified in September, indicating the economy is on the mend.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 40.1 from 36.3 in March; readings less than 50 signal a contraction. The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment jumped by the most in more than two years, climbing to 65.1...

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed factory orders dipped in March after a February gain, suggesting any manufacturing recovery is likely to be gradual.

UK manufacturing has also improved, as Reuters reports:

The manufacturing sector contracted at its slowest pace in 8 months in April, as the weak pound helped support new orders, a survey showed on Friday.

The CIPS/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index improved to 42.9 in April from an upwardly revised 39.5 in March. Analysts had expected a more modest improvement to 40.0.

And Chinese manufacturing activity expanded at a faster pace in April. Bloomberg reports:

China’s manufacturing expanded for a second month as government stimulus spending stoked a fledgling recovery in the world’s third-biggest economy.

The Purchasing Manager’s Index rose to a seasonally adjusted 53.5 in April from 52.4 in March, the Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said...

A recovering Chinese economy could pull up the rest of Asia.

Stronger Chinese demand is helping exporting nations across Asia, where South Korea reported today a 9 percent gain in shipments in April from the previous month...

Singapore’s shipments to China jumped 29 percent in March from February, and those from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also increased...

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