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US manufacturing activity grows at slower rate in April

Keywords: Tags  ISM, Institute for Supply Management, PMI, manufacturing, steel coil, aluminum, cold-rolled steel, caustic soda natural gas

NEW YORK — U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in April for the fifth straight month, although the rate of growth—while positive—clocked in at the lowest level this year, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

The ISM’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for April declined 0.6 percentage points from March levels to 50.7 percent, indicating growth—albeit at a slower rate—in the domestic manufacturing sector.

The new orders index was up 0.9 percentage points to 52.3 percent and the production index rose 1.3 percentage points to 53.5 percent, but that strength was largely offset by a 4.5-percentage-point drop in the prices index to 50 percent, indicating that overall raw materials costs in the manufacturing sector remained unchanged in April from March levels.

According to the report, those commodities reportedly down in price last month included aluminum and cold-rolled steel, even as many other commodities, including caustic soda and natural gas, saw prices rise.

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