The doldrums of summer are here, and a new economic reading from Morgan Stanley hints at a major slowdown in the coming months.
Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index indicates major turning points of the economy and it fell from 45 points in May to only 13 points in June. The 32 point nosedive is the largest one-month drop recorded by this measurement, and the June valley is the lowest the MSBCI has been since the financial crisis in December 2008, according to Morgan Stanley.
So, what is causing the alarm bells to ring? Morgan Stanley economist Ellen Zentner says the cause may be more broad than one specific event.
“The decline shows a sharp deterioration in sentiment this month that was broad-based across sectors,” Zentner said in a note to clients. “Fundamental indicators point to a broad softening of activity, but analysts did not widely attribute the weakening to trade policy.”
Many recent events may be attributing to this fear of a slowdown, or even a full-on recession, for the U.S. economy. The job market only increased by 75,000 in May, according to a report from the Labor Department last week. This was after a healthy increase of 224,000 in April. Manufacturing has also suffered as it only increased by 0.2% in May after declines in previous months, according to the Federal Reserve.
The stock market has actually seen a boost in equities in June as investors reacted to the announcement of a possible interest rate cut by the Fed last week. This was after a weak May that saw the markets hammered in reaction to ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
Here is more insight into June’s Business Conditions Index reading by Morgan Stanley, per CNBC:
June’s conditions index reading showed notable declines in hiring, hiring plans, capex plans and business conditions exceptions, Morgan Stanley said.
The manufacturing subindex business conditions fell sharply to zero, “a decline that was likely exaggerated by the recent turn lower in oil prices, while marking the lowest level for the subindex on record,” Zentner said.
The services subindex also fell to 18 from 35.