January ISM Manufacturing PMI Lowest Since May 2020, Third Straight Month Sub-50.0%

The January ISM Manufacturing Index dropped to 47.4% (consensus 48.0%) from 48.4% in December, reflecting a general contraction in manufacturing activity. The ISM hit its lowest level since May 2020 and marks the third straight month with a sub-50.0% reading. The result was consistent with the regional Chicago PMI’s fifth consecutive month of contraction in business activity in the Chicago region. Clearly the cumulative effect of rate hikes around the globe is adversely impacting demand, evidenced by the fifth straight contraction in the new orders index.

 January ISM Manufacturing Index Highlights

  • ISM Manufacturing PMI 47.4% (consensus 48.0%) from 48.4% in December.
  • The New Orders Index decreased to 42.5% from 45.2%.
  • The Prices Index rose to 44.5% from 39.4%.
  • The Backlog of Orders Index increased to 43.4% from 41.4%.
  • The Supplier Deliveries Index jumped to 45.6% from 45.1%.
  • The Production Index dipped to 48.0% from 48.5%.
  • The New Export Orders Index rose to 49.4% from 46.2%.
  • The Employment Index edged down to 50.6% from 50.8%.

PMI Survey Respondents Comments

  • “Business is still strong, but we have begun to see softening in some pricing, and lead times seem to be improving.” [Computer & Electronic Products]
  • “Conditions are reasonable. Sales are a little better than planned. Cost pressures are easing for most products. There have been a lot fewer supply disruptions so far this year, and few expected in the short term. The crystal ball remains a little blurry for the rest of 2023.” [Chemical Products]
  • “Sales have dropped (as expected) at the beginning of the year. Forecast from the sales department is showing even lower sales then we expected. If this holds true, inventory levels will rise slightly over next month and a half.” [Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products]
  • “Supply chain issues continue to plague our production schedules. Transportation from our overseas suppliers is also contributing to delays. Lead times have doubled for critical electronics, gaskets, sealants, and specialized steel.” [Transportation Equipment]
  • “Strong big ag demand continues to drive heightened demand for parts. Large construction/off highway original equipment manufacturers have strong demand as well. Creating continued capacity constraints with the supply base.” [Machinery]
  • “Some business segments showing demand softening globally. Many materials showing improved lead times as well as cost deflation.” [Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components]
  • “Thus far, the outlook for the first half of 2023 looks very soft. Demand for our products has taken a sharp downward turn. Our inventories are high, as well as our customers’. It seems everyone is bracing for a recession.” [Fabricated Metal Products]
  • “Customers are being quite aggressive in pursuing price decreases, far beyond the price relief we are actually receiving from our suppliers.” [Miscellaneous Manufacturing]
  • “Industrial construction is strong. Commercial construction is slower.” [Nonmetallic Mineral Products]
  • “In the past two weeks, we are seeing a slowing of new orders.” [Primary Metals]

Source ISM World

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