A Shrinking Gap
It was not a particularly busy week for new data releases, headlined by monthly readings on the ISM nonmanufacturing index and international trade flows. The former showed an unexpectedly strong rebound in service sector activity in April following three consecutive months of contraction, as respondents were more upbeat in their assessments of economic growth. Meanwhile, today's trade data release showed a much smaller-than-expected deficit, which will likely contribute to a significant upward revision to first quarter GDP growth when an updated estimate is released later in the month. Although exports actually fell in March to close out the first quarter, some of the weakness can be attributed to logistical snags (subscription required) at some major U.S. shipping ports. Indeed, exporters apparently have not been able to stock up enough on shipping containers to keep pace with foreign demand despite robust growth in appetites for items ranging from food to industrial supplies, which has only been fueled further by the still-struggling dollar.
05-09-2008 4:15 PM