The US economy grew for 131 consecutive months in March, but the manufacturing price margin index declined by 1pc to 49.1pc from 50.1pc in February.
New orders declined by 7.6pc to 42.2pc in March compared to 49.8pc in February. Production also fell by 2.6pc to 47.7pc compared to 50.3pc in February. New export orders dropped by 4.6pc to 46.6pc from 51.2pc during the month prior, while imports declined slightly by 0.5pc to 42.1pc in March from 42.6pc in February. However, the supply delivery index rose by 7.7pc to 65pc in March compared with 57.3pc during the previous month, followed by the inventory index rising by 0.4pc to 46.9pc from 46.5pc in February.
At 41.3pc, the new order index is the lowest recorded since March 2009, with the primary metals, fabricated metal products, transportation equipment, petroleum, and coal product sectors recording decreases last month. However, there were seven sectors that grew their outputs in March, including primary metals, food products, chemical products. There are six sectors that reported decreases under the new export order index, including fabricated metal products, while the primary metal sector reported a decline under the import index.
Timothy R Fiore, ISM’s chair, said the panel’s near-term outlook is unfavourable because COVID-19 has made markets volatile. He added that the pandemic impacted all manufacturing sectors last month.