Saturday, December 2, 2023

New York Empire State factory gauge drops sharply in January signaling deep contraction in activity

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The numbers: The New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index, a gauge of manufacturing activity in the state, tumbled 21.7 points to negative 32.9 in January, the regional Fed bank said Tuesday. 

This is the lowest level since the worst of the pandemic in 2020 and among the lowest levels in the survey’s history, the regional Fed bank said.

Economists had expected a reading of negative 7, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal.

Any reading below zero indicates contraction.

Key details: The new orders index fell 27.5 points to negative 31.1 in January. Shipments fell 27.7 points to negative 22.4.

The indexes for prices paid and prices received moved lower.

The employment gauges were also weak.

Big picture: The Federal Reserve’s steady increase in interest rates is having a slowing impact on capital spending as firms are scaling back investment, economists said. Demand for goods is also slowing after two strong years.

Market reaction: Stocks


were set to open lower on Tuesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note

rose to 3.57%.

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