US manufacturing slows

August 2nd, 2011 - 11:12 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 2 (IANS/EFE) The manufacturing sector in the US saw lower growth in July with the weakest rate of expansion in two years, according to data released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

The index prepared by the ISM to measure manufacturing activity stood at 50.9 percentage points in July, its lowest level since July 2009.

The figure also contrasts with the 55.3 percent registered in June, when the index gave analysts a welcome surprise with its first growth spurt in four months.

Experts regarded the decline in July uneasily, since any figure above 50 reflects a generalised growth in the sector, but falling below that figure indicates a period of contraction.

At any rate, though last month’s growth in the manufacturing sector slowed significantly, that came after 24 straight months of expansion.

“Despite relief in pricing, however, several comments suggest a slowdown in domestic demand in the short term, while export orders continue to remain strong,” said Bradley Holcomb, chairman of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

With the Prices Index shrinking to 59 percentage points in July compared with 68 the previous month, that indicator shows three consecutive months of decline, accumulating a total loss of 26.5 percent, Holcomb said.

Meanwhile, the New Orders Index retreated 2.4 points in May to 49.2 percent, interrupting the expansion trend of the last two years.

On its part, the Production Index lost 2.2 points to end at 52.3 percent, but still with July adding up to 26 months of growth.

The Employment Index in the sector last month showed a sharp decrease, losing 6.4 percent and dropping to 53.5 percentage points, though still showing 22 months of expansion.

–IANS/EFE
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