Growth in U.S. factory activity slowed in August as new orders shrank, and manufactures were forced to pay higher prices for supplies, a report showed.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national manufacturing activity fell to 59.0 in August from 62.0 in July. However, the August figure was not far below January's two-decade high of 63.6, as growth continued for a 15th consecutive month.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a median reading of 60.0. Any reading above 50 indicates growth.
The employment index dropped to 55.7 in August from 57.3 in July, while the prices paid component shot up to a 3-month peak of 81.5 from 77.0, in line with the rise in oil futures prices to nearly $50 a barrel.
The ISM index is compiled from monthly responses of purchasing executives at more than 400 industrial companies, ranging from textiles and chemicals to paper and computers. (Reuters)
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