Port strikes and bad weather hinder US manufacturing growth

Chris Papadopoullos
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THE PACE of manufacturing growth in the US dipped to a 13-month low in February, survey data show.

The activity index produced by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) fell to a score of 52.9 from January’s 53.5, according to figures released yesterday.

A score above 50 indicates growth, with higher figures signifying faster expansion. It marks a 28th consecutive month of growth in factory output implied by the ISM index. Sub-sections of the survey revealed a slowing of new orders growth as well as employment growth.

“The bullish side of the story attributes the disappointing figures to bad weather in the north east and the strikes in California,” said Ashraf Laidi, chief global strategist at online broker City Index. The flow of cargo through 29 ports has been disrupted by strikes which were resolved when a deal was struck on a new labour contract at the weekend.

“And with the manufacturing sector accounting for a shrinking part of the US economy, more attention ought to be placed on the services sector, whose ISM release is due on Wednesday,” Laidi said.

Manufacturing currently makes up around 12 per cent of US GDP.

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