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Economic Report: Flash PMI data show U.S. economic downturn ‘gathering significant momentum’ in October, says S&P Global

The numbers: The S&P Global U.S. manufacturing sector rose slightly to 50.7 in October from 50.6 in the prior month, based on a “flash” survey.

The flash U.S. services sector index, meanwhile, fell to 46.6 from 49.3.

Readings above 50 signify expansion; below that, contraction.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected manufacturing to rise to 51.8 in October and for the service sector to rise to 49.7.

Key details: In the service sector, the downturn was fueled by the rising cost of living and tightening financial conditions.

New orders in the manufacturing sector fell back into contraction territory in October. Output remained resilient due to firms eating into backlogs of previously placed orders, S&P Global said.

While price pressures picked up a bit in the service sector, the pace of the gain in inflation in the manufacturing sector was the slowest in almost two years.

Big picture: Talk of a recession sometime in 2023 has picked up in the last week. Many economists are sounding more bearish on the outlook, especially since the Federal Reserve is now seen raising its benchmark rate to 5%. However, on Monday, economists at Goldman Sachs said that talk over a recession was overblown.

What S&P Global said: “The US economic downturn gathered significantmomentum in October, while confidence in the outlook also deteriorated sharply,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“Although price pressures picked up slightly in the service sector due to high food, energy and staff costs, as well as rising borrowing costs, increased competitive forces meant average prices charged for services grew at only a fractionally faster rate. Combined with the easing of price pressures in the goods-producing sector, this adds to evidence that consumer price inflation should cool in coming months,” he added.

Market reaction: Stocks


were higher in early trading on Monday, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury note

inched up to 4.24%.

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