- The ISM Manufacturing and Services Indices registered readings above 50 for the fourth straight month in September
- U.S. auto sales hit a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 16.3 million units in September, the highest level in seven months
- The Purchasing Managers Index for Chinese services companies hit 55.9 in September
U.S. Manufacturing and Services Continue Expanding: The U.S. manufacturing and services sectors continued to recover in September from the Covid-19-induced business shutdowns experienced earlier in the year, according to data released last week. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of manufacturing, which is based on surveys of business executives, registered 55.4 in September, while the services PMI increased to 57.8 from 56.9 in the prior month. An index reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction. This was the fourth straight positive monthly reading for each of the indicators.
U.S. Auto Sales Rebound Strongly: U.S. auto sales finished the third quarter at a strong pace, totaling 16.3 million units (on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis), according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This was the fifth straight monthly increase, and was only 3% below the level seen in February before Covid-19 restrictions slammed the brakes on industry activity. Fueled by pent-up consumer demand and easy credit conditions, sales for the third quarter as a whole averaged 15.4 million units per month, a 36% increase from the 11.3 million average rate in Q2.
Reports Reflect Economic Recovery for China: After contracting significantly in the first quarter of 2020 amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chinese economy has steadily rebounded over subsequent months. After plummeting to 35.7 in February, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing enterprises in China has exceeded 50 for seven consecutive months, indicating continued expansion in the sector. Related, official Chinese government statistics reflect that industrial production has risen at a year-over-year pace for five consecutive months. The recovery also seemingly extends to the services sector, as the non-manufacturing PMI rose to 55.9 in September, the seventh straight 50-plus reading for this measure as well.