Markit Services PMI: "Joint-Weakest Rise In New Business Since October 2017"

The January US Services Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 54.2 percent, down 0.2 from the final November estimate of 54.47. The Investing.com consensus was for 54.2 percent. Markit's Services PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.

Here is the opening from the latest press release:

Commenting on the PMI data, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit said:

“The robust economic growth signalled by the US PMI surveys at the start of the year sits in stark contrast to the near-stalling of growth seen in Europe, China and Japan. At current levels, the surveys are consistent with annualised GDP growth of around 2.5% at the start of the year." [Press Release]

Here is a snapshot of the series since mid-2012.

Here is an overlay with the equivalent PMI survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management, which they refer to as "Non-Manufacturing" (see our full article on this series here). Over the past year, the ISM metric has been significantly the more volatile of the two.

Markit and ISM Services PMI

The next chart uses a three-month moving average of the two rather volatile series to facilitate our understanding of the current trend. Since early in 2016, the ISM metric has shown stronger growth than the Markit counterpart.

Markit Services PMI

Both series weakened since 2015 and saw an uptick in the latter half of 2016. The interim three-month moving average of the Markit Services index peaked in August of 2014. The ISM index peaked in September of 2015. The two were fairly closely aligned at the beginning of 2016, but they diverged early with the Markit index signaling noticeably weaker growth.

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