Afternoon Coffee: Trump Names Lighthizer for Trade Rep, ISM Reports PMI at 54.7%

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Former Reagan administration official Robert Lighthizer has been nominated as the U.S. trade representative, the Washington Post reports. President-elect Donald Trump’s latest appointment adds to his cabinet a conservative veteran who will likely pursue aggressive policies that confront China, Mexico and other nations the incoming administration believes are unfairly taking advantage of international trade agreements.    

ISM Reports Manufacturing Growth

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December and the overall economy grew for the 91st consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s December “Report on Business.” Manufacturing expanded in December as the PMI registered 54.7%, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the November reading of 53.2%.

Fewer iPhones in 2017

Apple will trim production of iPhones in the first quarter of 2017 by about 10%, according to an analysis of supplier data by The Nikkei Review. A forecast from IDC shows global smartphone shipments in 2016 will likely be on par with those in 2015, which speaks the difficulty Apple has had coming up with new features that entice consumers to upgrade to a new device.  

Energy Update

And finally, some perspective for commodity buyers in the coming year: Energy commodity prices rose more than any other commodity sector in 2016, the Energy Information Administration said in a recent brief. The spot energy index in the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) rose 48% since the start of 2016, while the spot S&P GSCI industrial metals, precious metals and agriculture indices increased less, rising 22%, 8%, and 5%, respectively.

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