Afternoon Coffee: US Manufacturing Picks Up, China Factories Sluggish

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 53.5 in June from 52.8 in May, surpassing by 0.3 the projections of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. While stumbles in the energy industry caused readings to slow in March and April, increased employment has led to stronger US manufacturer activity, and forecasts for the rest of the year are optimistic.

Manufacturing data from China, however, remained lackluster. The official Purchasing Manager's Index came in at 50.2 in June, unchanged from May and below the median estimate of 50.4 in a Bloomberg survey.

More buildings are going up in the US, as construction spending in the US rose 0.8% in May, to $1.04 trillion, the Commerce Department reported. Taken along with other strong signals, including improved consumer spending and confidence, the strong construction numbers suggest continued momentum in the economy.

And finally, Greece missed its $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund, making it the first European Union country to miss such a payment and putting it in arrears. The option of a bailout is still on the table, ministers said, but the looming possibility of Grexit has cast a cloud over the currency union.

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