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The ISM U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index came in at 47.8% in September, the lowest since June 2009.
This marks the second consecutive month of contraction.
The new export orders index tanked to only 41%, the lowest level since March 2009.
A gauge of U.S. manufacturing showed the lowest reading in more than 10 years in September as exports dived amid the escalated trade war.
The U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index from the Institute for Supply Management came in at 47.8% in September, the lowest since June 2009, marking the second consecutive month of contraction. Any figure below 50% signals a contraction.
The new export orders index was only 41%, the lowest level since March 2009, down from the August reading of 43.3%, ISM data showed.
“We have now tariffed our way into a manufacturing recession in the U.S. and globally,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group.
The report fanned fears of a recession and hit the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 200 points, erasing earlier gains on Tuesday.
“There is no end in sight to this slowdown, the recession risk is real,” Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank said in a note Tuesday after the report.
The deeper contraction in the manufacturing sector is the latest sign that the escalated trade war between the U.S. and China is taking a big bite from the economy. Manufacturing was once considered a big winner under the Trump administration with improvements in employment and activity over the past few years.
Quote:China is emerging with wins in this week’s trade talks, with the U.S. shelving new tariffs against Beijing while leaving many demands to be worked out later in return for an assurance of increased agriculture purchases.
The two countries took an initial step Friday to cement a trade agreement that had been derailed for months. President Trump said the U.S. would call off planned tariff increases on Chinese goods next week while Beijing would buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products—which China hasn’t publicly confirmed.
For now the truce opens an opportunity for Beijing to kick down the road concessions that it doesn’t want to make. Whether those hard issues ever get resolved is a question. The Chinese leadership feels that time is on its side, believing President Trump is under pressure to make compromises as part of his re-election bid next year. But by trying to drag out the negotiations, Beijing also risks the prospect that Mr. Trump may harden his position again to show he is being tough on China—or that it may have to start over with a new Democratic president.
“If you’re China, you’re pretty happy with the outcome,” Arthur R. Kroeber, founder of Beijing-based consultancy Gavekal Dragonomics, said of the latest trade talks. “China’s negotiation position has always been, the longer you can extend the talks the better.”
People with knowledge of China’s strategy say Beijing officials still insist that agriculture purchases must align with the real needs of Chinese companies, including state-owned enterprises, and comply with World Trade Organization standards which limit market-distorting practices. Chinese negotiators have said China shouldn’t be forced to divert purchases from other countries such as Brazil to meet the U.S. request.
Beijing’s position leaves open the possibility for disagreement between the two sides over the size and timing of Chinese purchases, and whether the $50 billion number is an aspiration or a firm target. China’s state media and Ministry of Commerce made no comments on agricultural purchase commitments after the meetings.
Beijing slowed down President Trump from imposing additional tariffs, though it failed to push U.S. negotiators to remove any tariffs already in place.
U.S. officials had planned a tariff increase next week to 30% from 25% on $250 billion in Chinese goods. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. hasn’t made a decision on the planned December tariffs for $156 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing will likely argue hard for the U.S. to remove that round, too.
President Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet and sign the first phase of a deal in mid-November, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile and it would be difficult to imagine the U.S. escalating tariffs thereafter if an agreement is reached.
On another front, Mr. Trump played down democracy protests in Hong Kong, claiming it was drawing fewer protesters and that the problem would solve itself. This was another win for Beijing, which has been worried about Washington bringing in nontrade related issues into the talks, according to analysts.
In the latest round of two-day trade talks, both sides focused on what they could harvest early. On the first day, Chinese officials focused on getting the U.S. to remove tariffs coming up as opposed to ones already in place, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Beijing’s plan now is to keep talking to Washington officials, while avoiding meeting all of their demands, according to Chinese officials.