Manufacturing in the region covered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond unexpectedly shrank in July as sales and orders weakened.
The central bank’s fifth district factory index, which covers North Carolina, South Carolina, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and most of West Virginia, fell to minus 11 this month from a revised 7 in June. The median forecast of 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected the index would improve to 9. Measures lower than zero signal contraction.
The Richmond Fed’s factory index stands in contrast to improvements in other regions. The New York Fed’s general economic gauge climbed in July to a five-month high, while the Philadelphia Fed’s measure increased to the highest level since March 2011.
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The Richmond Fed’s gauge of factory sales fell to minus 15 in July from 11 the prior month, the report showed. The six-month outlook for shipments climbed to 24 from a June reading of 21.
The index of current new orders declined to minus 15 from 9, while the employment measure held at zero.
Data for the Richmond Fed’s factory gauge represented responses from 91 of the approximately 220 firms surveyed each month.
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