Activity in the US manufacturing sector has shrunk for the first time in three years, according to data released on Tuesday, as the US-China trade war weighed on the industrial economy and added to fears about slowing domestic growth. An index released by the Institute for Supply Management fell below 50, the level that marks contraction in the sector. Although manufacturing only accounts for 11 per cent of the US economy and 8 per cent of its workforce, there are concerns among economists and policymakers that weakness in the sector will spread to other areas of output, like the much larger service sector. One particular part of the report was especially ugly: new export orders fell to their lowest since April 2009, when global trade was hit following the financial crisis. (First FT)
You soon may be able to walk out of Whole Foods without having to pay cash or swiping your card. Amazon engineers are quietly testing scanners that can identify an individual human hand as a way to ring up store purchases, according to the New York Post. Unlike fingerprint scanners found on mobile devices, the system uses vision and depth geometry to identify the shape and size of each hand before charging a credit card on file. The technology is hoped to be rolled out by the beginning of next year. (New York Post)
The next couple of weeks see major decisions at both the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. The list of ECB policymakers pushing back against a resumption of asset purchases is growing daily. Incoming ECB President Christine Lagarde faced lawmakers in Brussels this morning and pledged to act with “agility” when she takes charge on Nov. 1. From the Federal Reserve there have been mixed messages, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard saying an aggressive 50 basis-point reduction is warranted, while Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren is unconvinced that the bank needs to cut rates at all at the upcoming meeting. (Bloomberg)
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.