Manufacturing expansion slows in January

Manufacturing activity expanded at a muted pace, but still faster than expected, in January according to Markit Economics.

Expectations were for the report to come in at 53.7, indicating expansion in the US manufacturing sector and in-line with the flash reading from mid-January.

A report from ISM on Monday, however, missed expectations, showing a slower pace of expansion than had been expected by economists.

ISM’s manufacturing index came in at 53.5, down from 55.1 in December and missing expectations for a reading of 54.5.

The prices paid index of ISM’s report also declined markedly in January, to 35.0 from 39.5, which ISM’s report said reflects lower raw materials prices.

This reading from ISM marked the 68th straight month of expansion for US manufacturing activity, though this reading was the lowest in a year.

In a statement on Monday, Markit’s Chris Williamson said, “Manufacturing continued to expand in January, but the sector remains in a lower gear compared to that seen last summer. Factory output growth and job creation remain well below last year’s peaks, adding to the suspicion that the pace of economic expansion in the first quarter could even fall below the 2.6% rate seen in the final quarter of last year.”

Monday’s report from Markit was a rebound off of December’s 11-month lows, though Markit’s release noted that falling energy and raw material costs resulted in the first overall decline in input prices since July 2012.

More to come …

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