Markit Index of Manufacturing in U.S. Fell to 51.8 in July

The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing decreased to 51.8 in July from 52.5 a month earlier, the London-based group said today.

A reading above 50 in the purchasing managers’ measure indicates expansion. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 12 economists was 52. Estimates ranged from 51 to 53.

The European debt crisis and slower growth in China and Brazil threaten to limit demand for U.S. exports. At the same time, American consumers are slowing their spending and businesses are tempering equipment purchases.

Euro-area services and manufacturing shrank for a sixth month in July, adding to signs of a deepening economic slump, another Markit report showed today. A composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries in the 17-nation euro area held at 46.4, Markit said.

Regional U.S. manufacturing data for July have been mixed. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index rose to 7.4 this month from 2.3 in June, showing expansion. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s economic index was minus 12.9 in July, the third month of contraction.

Markit’s preliminary purchasers figure is based on replies from about 85 percent to 90 percent of those American manufacturers who respond to the poll of the more than 600 companies surveyed.

The gauge of U.S. manufacturing debuted in May. The company surveys purchasing managers in more than 30 countries and regions, including Europe and China.

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