U.S. factory and services activity quicken in November: Markit

22 Novembre, 2019, 19:49 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • IHS Markit's flash November composite PMI seen as a reliable guide to economic health slipped to 50.3 from October's 50.6

In the third quarter, the economy expanded at a 1.9% annualized rate, and some recent data suggest the pace has slowed further in the fourth quarter as businesses hold back on investment due to uncertainty spawned by U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war with China and weak demand from overseas.

The IHS Markit/CIPS flash services business activity index fell to a 40-month low of 48.6 from 50.0 in October, missing expectations for an unchanged reading and below the 50.0 level that separates contraction from expansion.

The market had been expecting a more modest fall to 48.8, from the 49.6 recorded in October.

This left the composite index at a 40-month low of 48.3, down from 50.0 in October, IHS Markit said.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said the figures suggested the United Kingdom economy was likely to shrink in the final quarter of 2019, following growth of 0.3% in the third quarter.

She said a cut in interest rates was more likely following the survey, which Bank of England officials on the monetary policy committee (MPC) are known to study carefully.

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Sterling fell on the news and by 0945 GMT, the currency was trading down 0.3% against the dollar at 1.2875 and 0.2% lower versus the euro at 1.1649.

"The PMIs suggest there is a downside risk to our forecast that GDP growth will only slow to +0.2% q/q following a +0.3% q/q expansion in Q3".

RBC Capital Markets said there are a couple of reasons to think the PMIs may be overstating the extent of the slowdown in the UK. It is the first time the flash measure, which covers about 85% of the full PMI data, has been used to give an early indication of United Kingdom private sector activity. The PMIs have been consistently overly pessimistic on United Kingdom growth for some time now.

New orders fell at the fastest pace since July 2016, "as domestic and overseas clients, worn-out by continuing political indecision withdrew from the marketplace, reducing overall activity in the manufacturing and services sectors", said Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

Elizabeth Martins, a senior economist at HSBC, said: "The UK economy is slowing. Smoothing out the Brexit-related distortions, we continue to see underlying United Kingdom quarterly growth running at 0.2% at present".

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