In October, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index unexpectedly fell back into contraction territory. The Richmond Fed index dropped from 4 to -7, while a marginal improvement to 5 was forecast. Also the details are poor with shipments (-9 from 9), new order volume (-6 from 7) and capacity utilization (-4 from 3) falling back into negative territory, while vendor lead time (-2 from -1) and number of employees (-5 from -5) continued to contract. Wages (10 from 6), average workweek (3 from -5) and order backlog (-3 from -9), on the contrary, picked up somewhat in October. Upward price pressures accelerated during the month with both prices paid (3.21 from 1.42) and prices received (1.99 from 0.44) rising significantly. Regional business confidence indicators continue to show a mixed picture in the US, suggesting that manufacturing activity continues to struggle at the start of the fourth quarter, probably due to uncertainty ahead of the Presidential Elections and due to slow growth in Europe and Asia.