Afternoon Coffee: Coronavirus spurs Fed’s emergency rate cut, ISM says manufacturing slowed; hemp supply chain on the rise

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates in an emergency response to the coronavirus disrupting supply chains, panicking Wall Street and slowing economic growth, CNBC reports.

“The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” the Fed said in a statement. “In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate.”

The Fed’s benchmark funds rate is now in a range of 1% to 1.25%. More cuts could come, with some speculation that the rate could go to zero, Reuters said.

U.S. manufacturing sector slows in February because of coronavirus

The coronavirus has hit U.S. factory manufacturing activity, which slowed in February, according to the monthly PMI index from The Institute for Supply Management (ISM). New orders contracted, reflecting worries about supply chain disruptions, it said.

ISM said its index of national factory activity fell to a reading of 50.1 last month from 50.9 in January, Reuters said. A reading above 50 shows growth, and a reading below 50 shows contraction. The index had shown five months of contraction, from August until December. January showed a growing manufacturing sector, but reaction to the coronavirus in China suspended work there, limited travel and spread concern — all of which depressed economic activity.

Other data showed construction spending going up the most in nearly two years, hitting a record high in January. But this also was overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak.

ISM’s non-manufacturing index comes out tomorrow.

3 major N. American hemp industry giants come together

Three big names of the North American hemp industry announced Monday that they had joined forces to build out the U.S. hemp supply chain.

The three businessmen announced the formation of Collective Growth and said the new company had received preliminary approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $150 million in an IPO on March 17 on the NASDAQ market.

Share on Procurious

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.