Afternoon Coffee: US Manufacturing Growth Remains Weak, NHTSA Says No to Broader Takata Airbag Recall

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The U.S. manufacturing sector contracted in February for the fifth consecutive month, according to the latest ISM manufacturing index. The February PMI registered 49.5%, a 1.3% increase from January. However, a reading below 50% represents slowing growth in the industry.

Markit Economics’ Purchasing Managers’ Index also showed a slowdown in manufacturing growth last month. The index came in at 51.3, down from 52.4 in January, representing a decline in manufacturing output and new business growth.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would not call for a blanket recall of all Takata airbags. Agency Administrator Mark R. Rosekind said while such a move may be easier to explain, it would likely exceed NHTSA’s authority and may not improve public safety.

Global shipping lines will need to consolidate through mergers or alliances to reduce expenses and survive the industry slowdown, a new report by AlixPartners LLP, a consulting firm, said. Utilization of ships along major shipping routes fell 87% in 2015 and demand is expected to remain low this year.

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