The United States released its ISM Manufacturing Index for the month of February coming in at 48.3 higher than the projected reading of 48.0 and lower than the prior reading of 50.7.
The reading below 50 is definitely a negative sing for the manufacturing sector in the U.S. economy as it indicates that more and more firms are contracting rather than expanding. Only seven of eighteen industries were growing in February.
New orders index fell to 49.1 in February from 49.5 in January. The Production index witnessed a sharp drop to 50.7 from 55.2 while supplier deliveries declined to 50.1 from 52.8. Inventories plunged to 45.4 this month from 49.1 the prior month. New export orders fell to 56.0 from 58.5 and imports slipped to 47.5 from 52.5 as well.
Also the Commerce Department reported that Construction Spending for the month of January was came in at -1.7% lower than both the expected reading of -0.7% and previous reading of -1.1%.
Projects on private residential construction kept on tumbling as the cancer infecting the heart of the U.S. still feeds on the economy. The annual reading showed that the construction spending was down 3.3% in January.
Spending slowed on hotels, roads and communication facilities as it seems like banks have raised standards for commercial loans. Private sector construction spending fell by 2.2% in January compared to the previous fall of 1.3% in December; while public or government construction spending decreased 0.2%. Federal government construction rose 4.2% and local spending dropped 0.5%.
Tomorrow is a fundamental free calendar for the U.S. but the ADP employment reading will be out in two days time and many see it as an indicator for the big Jobs Report to come at the end of the week. The Employment sub-index in the ISM report showed that employment fell in the manufacturing sector to 46.0 from 47.1 assuring expectations of 15,000 in the ADP employment Change this month.
With the bad outlook for the U.S. dollar and the sluggish growth expected by the Fed's in the U.S. it was just a matter of time before we witness new record highs. The Euro soared against the dollar to reach an all time high of 1.5273. Among the passengers of the upside journey came all primary commodities where oil leaped to record an all time high of $103.51 per barrel as gold breached the $991.00 per ounce level and silver hit a high of $20.58.
Investor's risk appetite was also hit causing them to engage in the unwinding of carry trades and get rid of much riskier assets. Although the Yen lost some ground against the greenback to bounce back to the 103.40s level, the dollar weakness and risk aversion gave it enough strength to drag the USD/JPY pair to record a low of 102.60.
Well dear reader, maybe the miracle is no where close to the greenback as Fed members' statements are now being assured and the strong dollar policy is not put into affect! A potential rate cut is still on the way and a shed of 50 basis points is locked in the markets but the thing isÃ¢â‚¬Â¦are we in for a surprise?!