U.S. Manufacturing Sector Shrinks for Second Month

Washington, Rabi’I 24, 1437, Jan 4, 2016, SPA — The U.S. manufacturing sector shrank for the second consecutive month in December, as the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar hurt export profitability, an industry group reported Monday, suggesting only moderate economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of manufacturing activity fell to 48.2 from 48.6 in November and now is at its lowest level in more than six years. A reading above 50 reflects expansion in the sector, and a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
The ISM report also showed that factories cut jobs and new orders shrank. The employment index fell to 48.1 in December from 51.3 the previous month.
The data suggests the difficulties facing manufacturers in 2015—slow overseas growth, a strong dollar, and low oil prices—likely will continue into 2016.
The ISM report coincides with a survey that found that manufacturing in China contracted for a 10th consecutive month in December, the latest sign of slowing global economic growth.
U.S. stocks plunged in early trading Monday, reflecting renewed concerns about China’s troubles and Middle East tensions.

21:08 LOCAL TIME 18:08 GMT

Canadian Manufacturing Activity Hits Record Low

OTTAWA, Rabi’I 24, 1437, Jan 4, 2016, SPA — The Canadian manufacturing sector contracted for the fifth consecutive month in December, an industry index showed Monday, as activity dropped to a record low.
The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing business conditions, fell to a seasonally adjusted 47.5 in December from 48.6 in November, the lowest level for the survey going back to 2010.
A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector. The index fell short of 50 for nine months of the year in 2015.
The Canadian economy was in a mild recession in the first half of the year and although growth resumed in the third quarter, the final quarter of 2015 got off to a weak start.

19:43 LOCAL TIME 16:43 GMT

U.S. Construction Spending Falls

Washington, Rabi’I 24, 1437, Jan 4, 2016, SPA — U.S. construction spending fell for the first time in almost a year and a half in November as a drop in nonresidential investment offset an increase in housing outlays, the government said Monday.
The Commerce Department reported that construction spending dropped 0.4 percent, the first and biggest decline since June 2014, after a downwardly revised 0.3 percent gain in October.
The government revised construction data from January 2005 through October 2015 due to a “processing error in the tabulation of data.” The revisions showed that construction spending was not as strong as previously reported for much of 2015.
Construction outlays were up 10.5 percent compared with November of last year. Construction spending in November was held down by a 0.8 percent drop in nonresidential construction.
Outlays on residential construction rose 0.2 percent.
Private construction spending declined 0.2 percent, but spending on private residential construction rose 0.3 percent.
Public construction outlays dropped 1.0 percent. Spending on state and local government construction projects, the largest portion of the public sector segment, slipped 0.4 percent. Federal government outlays tumbled 7.2 percent.
18:43 LOCAL TIME 15:43 GMT

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