European recession a downer for U.S. manufacturers


11 December 2012
, by Jeffry Bartash (MarketWatch - Blogs)

The U.S. economy is clearly feeling the effects of the recession in Europe.

Exports of American-made goods to countries in the European Union has fallen an unadjusted 7.3% over the past 12 months.

Exports of goods have fallen even steeper since hitting a 2012 peak in March.

Weaker exports of goods – vehicles, farm crops, industrial supplies and the like  – are evident in the performance of American manufacturers.

Growth has cooled off after a two-year expansion that helped the U.S. to begin to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

Most industrial stocks have flat-lined in recent months.

A closely watched barometer of manufacturing activity, the ISM manufacturing index, fell under 50% in November for the fourth time in six months.

The index had reached a seven-year high of 59.9% in early 2011, when manufacturers were on a roll.

A number above 50% signals expansion; below 50% signal contraction.

U.S. exports of goods to five of the top six trading partners in the European Union have declined.

Goods exports to Germany, the largest economy in Europe, have tumbled 8.1% over the past year.

They’ve also declined 6.1% with Netherlands, 12.1% with Belgium and 14% with Italy.

U.S. goods exports to Britain, which is not an official member of the euro zone, have also taken a step back: they are down 4% over the past 12 months.

The only exception: France. U.S. goods exported to that country have risen 5.6% in the past 12 months.

France, home of Airbus, is a major buyer of aircraft parts and engines.

Airbus is the largest maker of commercial jets in the world.

France is also a major purchaser of U.S. drugs and medical supplies, whose demand is less influenced by economic ups and downs.

Read more on trade data http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-trade-deficit-rises-49-to-422-billion-2012-12-11

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