US manufacturing saw a stronger than expected October.
The Institute of Supply Management’s purchasing manager’s index (PMI) came in at 51.9 for the month, above expectations of 51.7 and up from the prior month’s 51.5.
“After rebounding out of contractionary territory in September, the sustained advance in the ISM manufacturing PMI helps to confirm that the August deterioration was a short-lived blip,” wrote Brittany Baumann, macro strategist at TD Securities, in a note. “Together with positive underlying details in the release, the manufacturing sector stands on firmer footing at the start of Q4.”
The index is based on a survey of purchasing managers. A reading above 50 generally indicates an expansion.
Respondents mostly had positive comments. One noted a “very favourable outlook in the market,” while another reported that “business is much better.”
A respondent in the petroleum and coal products sector added that it’s “hard to predict oil price dynamics, but there seems to be a consensus that the market is stabilizing, at least above USD 50 bbl this month.”
Also notably, ISM’s manufacturing employment index rose to 52.9, which was not only an jump from the prior month’s reading of 49.7, but also the highest level since June 2015.
As for Markit PMI…
In a separate report also out on Tuesday, Markit Economics’ PMI came in at 53.4 for the month of October — the highest level for a year.
This number is above economists’ expectations of 53.3, and an uptick from the earlier flash reading of 53.2.
“October saw manufacturing enjoy its best performance for a year,” said Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit in the report. “Factories benefitted from rising domestic and export sales, driving output higher to mark an encouragingly strong start to the fourth quarter.”
“However, a widespread reticence to take on extra staff highlights lingering caution with respect to investing in capacity, at least until after the presidential election,” he added.
The higher reading was driven by gains in output and new orders, according to the report.
“The latest data were not especially strong, but suggest that the manufacturing sector is starting to pick up some momentum following a weak run through most of the year so far,” wrote JP Morgan’s Daniel Silver. “And we think that the sector is due for some improvement as some of the earlier drags that impacted the sector fade.”