The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index for May 2017 showed a moderate rebound in private sector economic activity. The Flash U.S. Composite Output Index rose to 53.9 from 53.2 in April, the largest increase since February. Driven by growing employment and a high level of new orders, the Flash U.S. Services Business Activity Index rose to 54.0. New business growth has accelerated to its highest reading since the beginning of 2017, accompanying an increase in job creation. Average business costs also increased, mainly due to a rise in service sector input prices. Service sector input prices rose at the fastest rate since 2015. However, there was a marked decrease in the optimism that had permeated the service sector at the beginning of the year. Things were less positive in the manufacturing sector. Production, hiring and new orders all increased at the slowest pace since 2016. “Some manufacturers suggested that domestic clients had adopted a wait-and-see approach to investment spending. Meanwhile, new export sales increased only marginally in May, which pointed to a sustained drag from subdued external demand.”
According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes fell more than anticipated in April 2017, attributed to a shortage of houses on the market and correspondingly high prices. However, while existing home sales declined 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million units, the number of days that homes stayed on the market decreased 1.64% compared to April 2016.
A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration states that U.S. oil refinery inputs averaged 17.3 million barrels per day during the week ending May 19, 2017, an increase of 159,000 barrels per day over than the previous week’s average. Gasoline production also increased, with an average of over 10.2 million barrels produced per day. U.S. crude oil imports decreased to an average of 8.3 million barrels per week and U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 4.4 million barrels from the previous week while gasoline decreased by 0.8 million barrels and distillates by 0.5 million barrels.