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Chicago Purchasing Managers Index Drops 1.1 points to 49.0 in March
The Chicago Business BarometerTM, produced with MNI, declined by 1.1 points in March, marking a ninth consecutive sub-50 reading. However, business sentiment rose marginally by 0.2 points to 46.6 in Q1.
Among the main five indicators, Production and New Orders saw the only monthly declines, while Supplier Deliveries recorded the largest gain.
Production shifted back into contraction in March after February’s rise above the 50-mark and demand for New Orders dropped by 7.9%. While some firms reported a rise in orders due to stockpiling by US customers, others noted a fall in new business COVID-19.
Order Backlogs increased further in March, rising its highest level since December 2019. However, the index dropped to the lowest quarterly level since Q3 2009, down by 9.9% compared to the previous month.
Inventories shifted deeper into contraction, slipping to the lowest level since October 2009. The index showed the largest monthly as well as quarterly decline, recording the lowest quarterly reading since Q4 2009.
Employment ticked up only marginally by 0.3 points in March, after February’s drop.
Supplier Delivers surged up to the highest level since November 2018. Firms continued to mention delivery delays from China and other countries.
Prices at the factory gate hit their highest level since December 2019, rising by 7.2%.
March’s special question asked “Compared with the first quarter, how do you think your level of New Orders in three months' time (Q2) will be?” The majority, at 40.5%, stated that the level of New Orders will be the same in three months’ time, while 31% said it will be lower. Meanwhile, 28.6% of firms expect a higher level of New Orders in Q2. When the same question was asked a year earlier, the majority (46.8%) projected a higher level of New Orders in Q2 compared to Q1.
The survey ran from March 2 to 16.
Posted: March 31, 2020 Tuesday 09:45 AM