Outlook brightens for U.S. Mid-Atlantic manufacturers

By Safiyah Riddle

(Reuters) – Optimism about the near-term business outlook among manufacturers in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region hit a nearly two-year high in July, as prices that firms received on produced goods shot up to the highest levels in six months.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s monthly survey of goods producers released on Thursday showed the six-month outlook index shot up to 29.1 in July from 12.7 in June, the highest since August 2021. That comes as current activity levels showed the region’s factory output contracted for the 11th straight month.

The Philadelphia Fed’s current business index was little changed at negative 13.5 this month from negative 13.7 in June. The median expectation among economists surveyed by Reuters was for a reading of negative 10. Readings below zero indicate contraction.

Nearly a third of the producers surveyed reported an increase in the prices that they received for goods, pushing the prices received index to its highest since January. At the same time, the prices paid index fell slightly – offering the opportunity for a larger profit margin.

Across the country, current conditions for manufacturing remain challenging, but a brightening outlook adds to prospects the economy might avoid recession.

(Reporting by Safiyah Riddle; Editing by Andrea Ricci)