US manufacturing falls, but figures still positive

The United States has joined a number of manufacturers worldwide in posting a slowdown in manufacturing activity for April, new figures show.

The US Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 50.7 in April from 51.3 in March, a slightly deeper fall than some analysts predicted.

 

The ISM said confidence was varied throughout the industry, with some sectors performing better than others.

 

“Comments from the panel indicate a range of strong/steady growth, to flat/declining volumes, depending upon the particular industry,” ISM chair Bradley Holcomb said.

 

Despite the weaker performance the country's PMI remained in positive territory, with any figure above 50 indicating expansion and anything below 50 indicating contraction.

 

From the 18 manufacturing industries surveyed in the US, 14 reported growth last month, with furniture, printing, and electrical equipment and appliances leading the trend.

 

The three sectors reporting contraction were wood products; food, beverage and tobacco products; and chemical products.

 

Across the Pacific, the Chinese Government yesterday reported China's PMI index dropped to 50.6 in April, down from 50.9 the month before.

 

Japan's industry has made some of the biggest gains worldwide however, with its manufacturing PMI rising to 51.1 from 50.4 in march, the fastest expansion in over a year.

 

Despite the positive figures overseas, Australia's industry continues to languish, with the AI Group posting a PMI of 36.7 for April.

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