GLOBAL ECONOMY-Manufacturing growth speeds up in U.S., slows globally

   < < Go Back

By Jonathan Cable, Adam Rose and Ryan Vlastelica,

from Reuters,

* U.S. factory activity at highest since May 2010: Markit

* European, Asian factory growth stumbled in Feb

* Output increased in euro zone’s big four economies

* China growth hit by falling export orders

Manufacturing growth in Europe and Asia eased last month, pressured by falling demand from abroad, while the United States bucked the trend with growth jumping to its highest in more than three years.

U.S. factory activity rose to its highest since May 2010, according to financial data firm Markit. Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said its index of U.S. factory activity rose to 53.2 in February, topping expectations and reversing two months of slowing growth. A reading above 50 indicates growth in activity.

Economic activity in the United States has been pressured by harsh winter weather, but elsewhere the weakness appeared more protracted. Chinese factory activity fell for a third straight month, dropping to a seven-month low.

The U.S. data was aided by a rebound in new orders, a forward-looking gauge that had been a primary factor in January’s weakness. ISM’s new orders subindex rose to 54.5 from 51.2 in the previous report. Markit’s gauge of new orders climbed to its highest since April 2010, rising to 59.6 from 53.9.

Data from the euro zone showed output rose in all of the bloc’s four biggest economies for the first time in almost three years, though surveys across Asia were more downbeat.

“They are all building up to a picture which says it’s going to be okay but nothing particularly stellar.

More From Reuters: