Those who have argued that the United States can withstand the weakness hitting global factories just received a shock: the American manufacturing sector shrank last month, according to the Institute for Supply Management. It’s the first time that’s happened since August 2016.
Against expectations, the group’s manufacturing index, a key gauge for the industry, came in at 49.1 as the trade war hit sentiment. Any number below 50 indicates a contraction.
In the near term, the survey’s biggest impact has been to increase expectations for a larger interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve later this month. The odds of a 50-basis point cut are now at more than 9%, up from 0% on Tuesday, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
But we’ll get a much better picture of what the Fed is working with by the end of the week. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index arrives Thursday. That’s followed, of course, by a blockbuster August jobs report on Friday.
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