According to figures released from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Chinese manufacturing PMI decreased to 49.2 in February, indicating a contraction in Chinese manufacturing for the third month in a row.
That’s significant because commodity investors pay close attention to the Chinese PMI numbers and because of the close connection between manufacturing output and scrap demand.
The U.S. economy expanded faster than what most economists were expecting in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the Bureau of Economic Analysis reporting 4th quarter real (adjusted for inflation) grew 2.6%, beating the consensus forecast for 2.3% growth:
Consumer confidence in February soared past expectations after January’s decline during the government shutdown. Of note, the advance monthly retail sales report for December 2018 has sales down 1.2 percent from November but up 2.3 percent from December 2017. Overall 2018 sales are predicted to be up 5.0 percent from 2017. CME Group analysts remark that the consumer confidence index has shown more volatility than the consumer sentiment index but both show that the rebound after the shutdown is still relatively low compared to the previous couple of years.
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