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February ISM Manufacturing PMI: Will the Downturn Finally Reverse?

February ISM Manufacturing PMI: Will the Downturn Finally Reverse?

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is set to release the February ISM Manufacturing PMI on Friday, March 1st, marking the first business day of the month. This closely watched report serves as a crucial indicator of the health of the US manufacturing sector and, by extension, the overall economy.

What is the ISM Manufacturing PMI and what does it mean?

The ISM Manufacturing PMI is a monthly survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management among purchasing managers in various manufacturing industries. The survey gauges their sentiment on various factors, including new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. The resulting index is expressed as a percentage, with readings above 50 signifying expansion and readings below 50 indicating contraction.

What are market expectations for the February ISM Manufacturing PMI?

Market analysts anticipate a modest improvement in the February ISM Manufacturing PMI, with forecasts hovering around 49.5. While this represents a slight rise from the January reading of 49.1, it remains below the expansionary threshold of 50.

The February ISM Manufacturing PMI is comprised of several subcomponents that provide valuable insights into specific aspects of the manufacturing sector. Here are a few key subcomponents to watch:

  • New Orders Index: This index gauges incoming orders from customers, offering an indication of future demand and production levels. An increase in the New Orders Index suggests growing demand and potential expansion, while a decrease signifies weakening demand and possible contraction.
  • Prices Paid Index: This index measures the change in prices that manufacturers pay for raw materials and other inputs. Rising prices indicate inflationary pressures, while falling prices suggest easing inflation.
  • Employment Index: This index reflects the hiring and firing activity within the manufacturing sector. An increase in the Employment Index signifies expansion and job creation, while a decrease suggests contraction and potential job losses.

Market implications of the February ISM Manufacturing PMI

The February ISM Manufacturing PMI release is likely to be met with keen attention from financial markets, as it can influence various asset classes and currency pairs. Here’s a breakdown of potential market reactions:

Positive PMI reading (above 50): A reading above 50, indicating expansion, could be welcomed by markets, potentially leading to:

  • Increase in high-yielding assets: Stocks and other riskier assets may experience upward pressure as investors become more optimistic about economic growth.
  • Weakening US Dollar: The US Dollar may face selling pressure as risk appetite improves.

Negative PMI reading (below 50): A reading below 50, indicating contraction, could trigger cautious reactions in the markets, potentially leading to:

  • Flight to safety: Investors may seek refuge in safe-haven assets like bonds and gold.
  • Strengthening US Dollar: The US Dollar may gain traction as investors favor its perceived safety during economic downturns.

Beyond the February ISM Manufacturing PMI: Inflation and its impact on EUR/USD

While the February ISM Manufacturing PMI holds significant weight, other economic data points also influence market sentiment. Recently, the US released the January Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index, a key inflation gauge closely monitored by the Federal Reserve. The index met market expectations, easing concerns about persistent inflation and potentially influencing the Fed’s monetary policy decisions.

Current market positioning and the role of the February ISM Manufacturing PMI in shaping the EUR/USD outlook

With the Fed hinting at potential rate cuts starting in June 2024, concerns about tighter monetary policy have subsided somewhat. However, the overall monetary policy stance is expected to remain restrictive throughout 2024 and potentially into 2025. Meanwhile, the EUR/USD pair currently trades within a range, finding support around 1.0800 and resistance near 1.0865. The February ISM Manufacturing PMI release, along with other upcoming economic data, could act as a directional catalyst, influencing the EUR/USD pair’s trajectory and market participants’ perception of future Fed policy moves.


The February ISM Manufacturing PMI is a pivotal economic indicator that offers valuable insights into the health of the US manufacturing sector and its potential impact on the broader economy. Market players will closely scrutinize the report, particularly key subcomponents like the New Orders Index and the Prices Paid Index, to gauge the direction of growth, inflation, and potential policy responses. The release has the potential to influence various asset classes, including the EUR/USD pair, depending on whether the PMI aligns with or deviates from market expectations.


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