New York Manufacturing Activity Contracts at Steepest Rate Since 2009
The composite index of general business conditions from the New York Federal Reserve Bank declined sharply in August (from 3.9 in July to -14.9 in August), the lowest level since the Great Recession. From a more long-term standpoint, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s headline figure has bounced around a lot over the past five months, suggesting softness in the current economic environment due to reduced demand and shipments, but a cautiously upbeat outlook moving forward. To learn more, visit here.
Housing Market Gains Steam, Housing Starts Exceed 1.2 Million
In July, new housing starts (now exceeding 1.2 million) were at their fastest pace since October 2007, according to the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Edging up from 1,204,000 units in June to 1,206,000 in July, the data suggest that the housing market has gained some steam and is improving from softness earlier in the year. The higher figure in July stemmed from the 12.8 percent jump in single-family starts activity and was enough to offset the decline in multi-family starts (down 17.0 percent in July). To learn more, visit here.
Consumer Prices Increase in July, But at A Slower Rate
The consumer price index edged up 0.1 percent in July, slowing from the 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent paces observed in May and June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This ease in growth is attributed to slower energy price increases, which rose 0.1 percent in July after jumping 4.3 percent and 1.7 percent in May and June. On a year-over-year basis, core inflation was 1.8 percent, unchanged from the previous month. In fact, core consumer prices have remained in the 1.6 to 1.8 percent range year-over-year for 12 straight months. To learn more, visit here.
China’s Manufacturing Sector Slows to Lowest Level Since 2009
At its lowest level since March 2009, the Caixin Flash General Manufacturing PMI declined from 47.8 in July to 47.1 in August. Chinese manufacturing activity was down across the board, including new orders, output, exports and employment. With PMI data contracting for the sixth consecutive month, the Bank of China has devalued the yuan, down 2.9 percent in the past two weeks, and the Shanghai Composite Stock Market Index has plummeted more than 32 percent since June 12, prompting growth worries in financial markets worldwide. To learn more, visit here.