US Jan manufacturing survey shows larger-than-expected gains

15 January 2010 20:42  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A leading indicator of the health of the US manufacturing industry showed larger-than-expected gains in both current business conditions and six-month expectations, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Friday.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, prepared by the New York Federal Reserve, indicated that conditions for New York manufacturers - including chemical producers - climbed sharply in January, following a dip in December, the ACC said in its weekly economic report.

New York state has the third-largest chemical industry in the US, with shipments totalling $37bn (€25.5bn) each year. The survey is considered a bellwether of US manufacturing activity, according to the ACC.

The survey’s current business index surged 11.9 points to 15.9 in January, indicating expansion by remaining above the break-even point of 0. Indexes for new orders, shipments and prices all posted similar increases, reversing December declines.

In addition, employment indexes moved into positive territory after slipping below 0 in December.

Indexes for six-month expectations were “highly optimistic”, with both industry activity and employment widely expected to improve over the next six months, according to the New York Federal Reserve.

As a result, a number of companies are expecting to increase their capital spending in that timeframe, even as low capacity utilisation and expected sales growth hinders investment, the ACC said.

($1 = €0.69)

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By: Ben DuBose
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