U.S. Markets

N.Y. Fed 'Empire State' business index slips in September

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Federal Reserve said on Monday its gauge of business growth in New York state declined more than forecast in September, suggesting sluggish regional activity amid a U.S.-China trade dispute.

There were conciliatory gestures between Washington and Beijing in a bid to defuse trade tensions as the two nations are expected to meet in Washington for trade talks in the coming weeks.

The regional Fed’s “Empire State” index on current business conditions fell to 2.0 points this month from 4.8 points in August.

For September, analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of 4.0.

A reading above zero suggests an expansion in regional business activity.

Details in the New York Fed’s latest snapshot of the state’s factory sector were mixed.

The measure on new orders, a proxy on future activity, decreased to 3.5 points from 6.7 in August, while the shipment index fell 4 points to 5.8, the lowest reading in nearly three years, the New York Fed said.

The unfilled orders component moved up to -2.6 points in September from -9.7 as it signaled unfilled orders declined for a fourth straight month.

The measure on six-month business outlook decreased to 13.7 in September from 25.7.

A bright spot was a recovery in employment.

The measure on the number of employee was in negative territory for the previous three months. It jumped to 9.7 this month from -1.6.

The gauge on average work week rose to 1.7 from -1.3.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Angus MacSwan