US manufacturing experienced a further solid month expansion in December 2014 with the Markit US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reaching 53.9 in December and signalling five straight years of industrial growth.
Although the US PMI did fall by 0.9 from 54.8 in November, signalling a slight slow down, any amount above 50 signals growth.
Levels of new work continued to increase in December and the rate of expansion picked up slightly from the 10-month low recorded during November. A number of manufacturers noted weak demand from the euro area and emerging markets, which contrasted with relatively strong spending patterns among domestic clients.
US manufacturing payroll numbers rose for the eighteenth successive month in December. However, the rate of job creation moderated to its least marked since July 2014. Stocks of finished goods were depleted in December, thereby ending a five-month period of rising post-production inventory levels.
Input price inflation eased for the third successive month to its lowest since April 2013. Survey respondents widely reported falling commodity prices and reduced oil-related costs. Meanwhile, factory gate price inflation hit a seven-month low in December.
The UK and China PMI data also demonstrated a slowing but the UK still returned a positive result of 57.6 in December from 59.4 in November. By comparison, the HSBC China Manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 in the final reading for December, down from 50.0 in November, with a decline in domestic demand believed to be responsible for the slowdown of the Asian powerhouse as new orders contracted for the first time since April 2014.
The Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI) fell by 3.2 points to 46.9 in December, back below the 50-point level which signifies a contraction.