US manufacturing weathers cold, expands in February

03 March 2014 16:53 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US manufacturing expanded in February despite cold winter weather that chilled some business environments, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Monday.

In its monthly survey known as the purchasing managers index (PMI), the institute said that manufacturing grew for the ninth consecutive month and the overall US economy for the 57th straight month.

February’s PMI registered at 53.2%, up 1.9 percentage points from January’s 51.3%.

A reading above 50% indicates the US manufacturing sector is expanding, while a reading below 50% means that production is in contraction.

The ISM’s new orders index had a 54.5% reading for February, up 3.3 points from January’s 51.2%. But the production index fell 6.6 points from January to 48.2%. Inventories of raw materials jumped 8.5 points to 52.5%.

Of the 18 manufacturing sectors surveyed, 14 reported growth, including chemical products, plastics and rubber products, transportation equipment and paper products.

Meanwhile, petroleum and coal products was one of the industries reporting contraction in February. One survey respondent from the industry told the ISM that “bad weather [is] hampering logistics across the country”.

A chemical products respondent said that February saw “many raw material disruptions due to weather and backups at the ports”.

By Jeremy Pafford