Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 4pm

Durable Goods Orders Down 1.3% in May

New orders for manufactured durable goods in May decreased $3.3 billion or 1.3% to $243.4 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a 2.8% April decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.3%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 0.6%.

CFOs Expect Downturn but No Recession

Almost all CFOs recently surveyed by Deloitte (97%) say they expect a U.S. downturn in the next two years, but they are split on the expected duration. Of those, four in five said they expect any downturn to be mild, and about half of those said they expect a short duration. Less than 5% expect a sharp, prolonged downturn.

Citing growing worries about the economic impacts of geopolitics, U.S. political turmoil, and U.S. trade policy, just 28% of CFOs in the survey said they expected the North American economy to be better in 2019—half the level going into 2018.

NAM Survey: Optimism Dips in Second Quarter

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2019. In the field during the prospects of tariffs on Mexican goods and still unresolved threat of 232 auto tariffs, the survey shows a dip in manufacturers’ optimism amid trade uncertainties. A positive outlook for their business was registered by 79.8% of manufacturers in the second quarter, down from 89.5% in the first quarter.

The inability to attract and retain a quality workforce remained manufacturers’ top business concern (68.8%) in the second quarter. The survey also found that a majority of manufacturers (56%) are concerned about trade uncertainties with regards to the USMCA, a U.S.-China trade agreement, looming 232 auto tariffs and the now-resolved threat of U.S. tariffs on Mexico. In addition, nearly half of manufacturers are concerned about increased raw material prices.

Manufacturing PMI Slumps in June

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) registered 50.1 in June, down from 50.5 in May. The latest reading was the lowest since September 2009 and only fractionally above the neutral 50.0 threshold. Weaker rates of production growth and staff hiring were the key factors weighing on the headline PMI, alongside the largest drop in stocks of purchases for almost a decade.

Consumer Sentiment Declined in June

The Index of Consumer Sentiment declined from 100.0 in May to 97.9 in June. The decline stemmed from reduced expectations for the future, but Americans' assessments of the current economy improved. Trade policy uncertainties were one of the larger factors explaining the decrease in sentiment. Even with some easing, consumers continued to feel upbeat overall, especially relative to the longer-term trend.

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