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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
US manufacturing growth slackens
US car factory
Analysts are not alarmed by the latest figures
The US manufacturing sector grew at a slower-than-expected pace in September, seeing its sharpest fall since May 2005, official figures show.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for the last month dipped to 52.9 from August's 54.9.

And the prices paid index, which measures inflationary pressures in the sector, fell to 61.0 during September, its weakest in 14 months.

Despite the falls, analysts did not appear alarmed by the latest data.

'Cooling off'

The latest figures mark the fortieth month in a row that US manufacturing has expanded, as any number over 50 represents growth, while any number under that shows contraction.

Figures for new orders - which indicate future growth - remained stable.

"The number was on the soft side but it sill shows an expansion of manufacturing," said Gary Thayer, chief economist with AG Edwards & Sons.

"It looks like there is a cooling off in manufacturing but not a big decline underway."

The news follows the Fed's decision in August to keep interest rates at 5.25% - ending a two-year cycle of rate hikes which were introduced to slow a rampant economy

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