One of these days we might just get a positive economic print, of the kind that the meandering Tepper was saying is visible everywhere now. Just not yet. Moments ago we got the releases of the May PPI and the Empire Fed, the first of which dropped -0.7%, on expectations of a -0.6% drop, the lowest MoM PPI since July 2009. driven by food and energy producer prices as economic slack continues to persist, while PPI ex food and energy dropped from a +0.2% increase in April to just 0.1%, in line with expectations. Technically, this is bullish for the E-Trade baby as it gives the Fed carte blanche to continue QEternity as long as needed.
But it was the Empire Fed index that was even more disappointing, as it crushed hopes for an increase from 3.05 to 4.00 in May, instead posting the first contractionary print since January, printing at -1.43. It gets worse when one digs through the data: New Orders dropped from 2.20 to -1.17, Shipments also slid into negative from 0.75 to -0.02, Unfilled Orders deteriorated even more from -3.41 to -6.82, Inventories contracted from -4.55 to -7.95, Prices Paid and Received both contracted, but worst of all, the Average Employee Workweek dropped from 5.68 to -1.14, meaning the collapse in the average workweek persists, and even if the BLS reports a positive print for May, the report will once again mask the declining aggregate end demand for labor.
What is worst, however, is that even the Hopium has now run out, with the future general business conditions index declining for a second consecutive month, dropping six points to 25.5. Add to this the just 1.2% expectation in increasing prices received - the lowest on record - and one can see why the US manufacturing sector is collapsing.
The May 2013 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers declined marginally. The general business conditions index fell four points to -1.4, its first negative reading since January. The new orders index also edged into negative territory, and the shipments index fell to zero. The prices paid index declined eight points to 20.5, indicating a slowdown in selling price increases, while the prices received index was little changed at 4.6. Employment indexes were mixed, showing both a modest increase in the number of employees and a slight decline in the length of the average workweek. Indexes for the six-month outlook were generally lower, suggesting that optimism about future conditions had weakened.
In a series of supplementary survey questions, firms were asked about past and expected changes in both the prices they paid for inputs and the prices they charged their customers. The same questions had previously been asked in surveys conducted in May 2012 and in May of earlier years. Respondents to the current survey, on average, expected the prices they paid to climb by 2.8 percent—the smallest anticipated rise since May 2009.
Moreover, the average respondent anticipated an increase of just 1.2 percent in prices received—the smallest expected increase recorded since these questions were first asked in May 2007.
General Business Conditions Index Falls Below Zero
After three months of modestly positive readings, the general business conditions index fell four points to -1.4 in May, pointing to a slight deterioration in business conditions for New York manufacturers for the first time since January. Twenty-five percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 26 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index also fell below zero, declining three points to -1.2. The shipments index was little changed, holding at zero in a sign that shipments were flat. The unfilled orders index declined three points to -6.8. The delivery time index was unchanged at -3.4, and the inventories index fell three points to -8.0, suggesting a modest decline in inventory levels.