In June, the Chicago PMI surprised on the upside of expectations, reversing some of the previous month’s losses, while the consensus was looking for a further decline. The headline index rose from 56.6 to 61.1, while a decline to 54.0 was expected. The details show a somewhat mixed picture. The important production (66.9 from 56.0) and new orders (61.2 from 53.5) sub-indices showed a sharp rebound and also supplier deliveries (64.8 from 63.8) improved in June. Order backlog (49.3 from 51.7), inventories (46.9 from 61.6) and employment (58.7 from 60.8) weakened in June. Upward price pressures eased somewhat as prices paid fell from 78.6 to 70.5. After already an improvement in the Richmond Fed survey, this outcome suggests that there might be a shift in business sentiment, providing further evidence that the slowdown in growth might just be a soft patch, rather than a sustained slowdown in growth. For the manufacturing ISM tomorrow, we believe that the risks are on the upside of expectations, with even an increase not excluded after the sharp decline last month.
In the week ended June the 25th, US initial jobless claims fell only marginally, while the consensus was looking for a more significant decline after an upward surprise in the week before. Initial jobless claims fell by 1 000 to a total number of 428 000, while a decline to 420 000 was expected. The less volatile 4-week moving average rose from 426 250 to 426 750, providing further evidence that claims are trending higher again. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, surprised on the upside too. In the week ended June the 18th, continuing claims dropped by 12 000 from an upwardly revised 3 714 000 to 3 702 000, while a decline to 3 690 000 was forecasted. After a weak payrolls report in May, the claims for the month of June suggest no improvement. Initial jobless claims continued to hover above the 400 000 level, which is usually associated with a stable labour market.