US DATA: March Richmond Fed mfg text notes moderation but says
momentum is positive. “Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic
region expanded in March for the fourth straight month, but at a more
temperate pace than a month ago, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest
survey. All broad indicators including shipments, new orders, and
employment continued to grow but at a rate below February’s pace. Most
other indicators also suggested moderate activity. District contacts
reported capacity utilization grew more slowly, while backlogs held
steady. Likewise, delivery times and finished goods inventories grew at
a modestly slower rate. Looking forward, assessments of business
prospects for the next six months were generally in line with last
month’s readings. Contacts at more firms anticipated that shipments, new
orders, backlogs, capacity utilization, and capital expenditures would
continue to grow at a solid pace in the months ahead.”