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Philly Fed business index falls for 4th straight month

[NEW YORK] Growth in factory activity in the US mid-Atlantic region fell for a fourth straight month in March to its lowest level in more than a year, a regional Federal Reserve survey showed on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index slipped to 5.0 this month, the lowest since February 2014, from February's 5.2. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase to 7.1.

Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region's manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

It is seen as one of the first monthly indicators of the health of US manufacturing leading up to the national report by the Institute for Supply Management.

Just four months ago, in November, the Philadelphia Fed gauge had notched its highest reading since December 1993, but has fallen each month since then.


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