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Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Surveys showed global manufacturing, the lifeblood of many of the world's economies, was flat in March — the first time it has not fallen since April 2018.

"The steady result was achieved in no small part thanks to a better performance from China. China led a regional divide, with northeast Asia generally improving. While in contrast, Central Europe was notably weak, and North American manufacturing, at least based off the PMIs, was also losing some growth momentum, most especially in Canada and Mexico."
— Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a note to clients.
  • China's manufacturing sector returned to growth in March, with its purchasing managers index rising above 50, after 4 months of contraction.
  • In the U.S., the rate of expansion in manufacturing was the weakest since June 2017. "A futher deterioraton in the manufacturing PMI suggests the factory sector is acting as an increasing drag on the US economy," said Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, which released the study.
  • Japan's Nikkei-Markit manufacturing PMI for March capped the worst quarterly performance in the sector since the second quarter of 2016. Another study, the Bank of Japan's quarterly survey of major companies, found confidence had its biggest drop in more than 6 years.
  • Eurozone manufacturing readings were much worse than expected last month, as factory activity contracted at the fastest pace in nearly 6 years. However, the metric remained in positive territory.

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The European Central Bank and the market's moment of truth

ECB president Christine Lagarde; Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Why it matters: With interest rates jumping around the globe, investors are looking to central bank heads to see if they will follow the lead of Fed chair Jerome Powell, who says rising rates are nothing to worry about, or Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who has drawn a line in the sand on rates.

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Manchin's next power play

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), America's ultimate swing voter, told me on "Axios on HBO" that he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice on President Biden's next big package than they did on the COVID stimulus.

The big picture: Manchin said he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

Why picking a jury for the Derek Chauvin trial is so hard

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The tough task of selecting a jury for former MPD officer Derek Chauvin's trial for the killing of George Floyd is set to begin Monday.

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