Factory Sector Growth in the U.S. and Euroland Slowed Last Month

April 3, 2018

The ISM-compiled U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index in March printed at 59.3, 1.5 points lower than in February but still 0.2 points above January’s reading. Indices for incoming orders, production, and employment respectively fell by 2.3, 1.0, and 2.4 points, but the score for inflation jumped 3.9 points to a lofty 78.1.

The IHS-compiled manufacturing PMI for the euro area dropped 2.0 points to 56.6, lowest since July 2017. All reported PMIs for individual Ezone members recorded slower activity growth than in February, including declines of 2.4 points in Germany, 2.2 points in France, 2.1 points in Ireland, 1.9 points in The Netherlands, 1.7 points in Italy and 1.2 points in Spain. The scores in March ranged from 53.7 in France to 61.5 in The Netherlands.

The differential between the U.S. PMI and Euroland’s PMI widened to 2.7 points in February from 2.2 points in February. The U.S. hadn’t experienced that big an advantage versus the euro area in 13 months. Being more exposed to a global war than non-manufacturing industries, it’s not surprising to see manufacturing in both the United States and euro area experience some deterioration. For now, each of the economies still has strong manufacturing dynamics as exemplified by PMIs above 55. But these are early days in a possible trade war. It shows that business conditions are susceptible to the mere possibility of tit-for-tat tariff increases. Further adversity will ensue if threat of a trade war morphs into an actual trade war.

A subtler yet broader form of trade protectionism than tariffs is currency depreciation. The EUR/USD exchange rate coincidentally had the same mean value in both February and March.

Mfg PMIs U.S. Euroland Spread EUR/USD
Jan 2013 53.1 47.9 +5.2 1.330
February 53.1 47.9 +5.2 1.334
March 51.5 46.8 +4.7 1.295
April 50.0 46.7 +3.3 1.301
May 50.0 48.3 +1.7 1.299
June 52.5 48.8 +3.7 1.319
July 54.9 50.3 +4.6 1.309
August 56.3 51.4 +4.9 1.331
September 56.0 51.1 +4.9 1.335
October 56.6 51.3 +5.3 1.364
November 57.0 51.6 +5.4 1.349
December 56.5 52.7 +3.8 1.370
Jan 2014 51.3 54.0 -2.7 1.361
February 54.3 53.2 +1.1 1.366
March 54.4 53.0 +1.4 1.380
April 55.3 53.4 +1.9 1.380
May 55.6 52.2 +3.4 1.374
June 55.7 51.8 +3.9 1.360
July 56.4 51.8 +4.6 1.354
August 58.1 50.7 +7.4 1.332
September 56.1 50.3 +5.8 1.290
October 57.9 50.6 +7.3 1.268
November 57.6 50.1 +7.5 1.247
December 55.1 50.6 +4.5 1.232
Jan 2015 53.5 51.0 +2.5 1.162
February 53.3 51.0 +2.3 1.135
March 52.3 52.2 +0.1 1.083
April 51.6 52.0 -0.4 1.081
May 53.1 52.2 +0.9 1.116
June 53.1 52.5 +0.6 1.123
July 51.9 52.4 -0.5 1.101
August

September

October

51.0

50.0

49.4

52.3

52.0

52.3

-1.3

-2.0

-2.9

1.114

1.123

1.121

November

December

Jan 2016

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Jan 2017

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Jan 2018

February

March

48.4

48.0

48.2

49.7

51.7

50.7

51.0

52.8

52.8

49.4

51.7

52.0

53.5

54.5

56.0

57.6

56.8

55.3

55.5

56.7

56.5

59.3

60.2

58.5

58.2

59.3

59.1

60.8

59.3

52.8

53.2

52.3

51.2

51.6

51.7

51.5

52.8

52.0

51.7

52.6

53.5

53.7

54.9

55.2

55.4

56.2

56.7

57.0

57.4

56.6

57.4

58.1

58.5

60.1

60.6

59.6

58.6

56.6

 

-4.4

-4.8

-4.1

-1.5

+0.1

-1.0

-0.5

0.0

+0.8

-2.3

-0.9

-1.5

-0.2

-0.4

+0.8

+2.2

+0.6

-1.4

-1.5

-0.7

-0.1

+1.9

+2.1

0.0

-1.9

-1.3

-0.5

+2.2

+2.7

1.076

1.090

1.087

1.111

1.114

1.134

1.130

1.124

1.106

1.120

1.121

1.103

1.078

1.054

1.063

1.064

1.069

1.072

1.106

1.124

1.153

1.182

1.191

1.176

1.174

1.184

1.220

1.234

1.234

 

Copyright 2018, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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