This article originally appeared in Business Insider and TMA Midwest Blog

November 1, 2011

By David Johnson, ACM Partners

From the look of the markets today it seems like the relief rally prompted by the (overly optimistic) assumption that the euro zone problem was contained has ended.  There many areas of weakness, but a look at the October ISM data will serve to illustrate the point.

The headline PMI of 50.8 (down from 51.6 in September) is still signaling expansion, though a weak one.  But the devil is in the details:

  • Inventories are down (46.7 from 52.0)
  • Customer’s Inventories are down (43.5 from 49.0)
  • Exports are down (50.0 from 53.5)
  • Imports are down (49.5 from 54.5)

And of course China’s PMI is down to 50.4 (from 51.2), its lowest level in since February 2009.

Export growth is down not only in China but also in South Korea and Taiwan as well, suggesting that the impact of belt-tightening among consumers in developed economies is starting to be felt.

Folks, this is a not a recovery.  We are limping along on the road to a double-dip.