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Data: Caixin, IHS Markit; Chart: Axios Visuals

Purchasing managers' indexes for the manufacturing sector are moving in opposite directions in the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: China's economy was the first in the world to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic and its manufacturing sector surged.

  • However, since November, manufacturing has tapered off as demand from Europe and North America slowed, showing the fragility of the economic recovery even as COVID-19 cases remain low.

Details: China's Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI fell to 50.9 last month, the lowest level since last May.

  • An official government survey on Monday showed China’s economic recovery continued in February, but at a slower-than-expected pace, with all major sectors showing their lowest growth rates since last spring.

Conversely, manufacturing PMI, which tracks sentiment among major companies within the sector, rose again in the U.S. for the eighth consecutive month with rates of expansion in output and new orders up notably in February.

  • A separate survey from the Institute for Supply Management showed the highest reading since February 2018, following the passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

Between the lines: Demand is booming, U.S. businesses say, but they also noted a significant increase in prices.

  • ISM's prices paid index recorded an 86 last month, the highest reading since 2008.
  • According to Bespoke Research Group, the consumer price index reading when this figure is above 85 has been at an average of 3.2% since 1990.

The last word: “Prices are going up, and lead times are growing longer by the day. While business and backlog remain strong, the supply chain is going to be stretched very [thin] to keep up,” a U.S.-based respondent to ISM's survey said.

Go deeper

The manufacturing boom's bottleneck

llustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The manufacturing sector has bounced back from its pandemic knockout. But as the economy reopens, factories can't keep up with orders.

Why it matters: The materials manufacturers need are hard to find and prices for them are soaring.

Biden admin grants Colonial waiver to ease fuel shortages

Fuel tanks at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration approved a temporary waiver of shipping requirements late Wednesday to help Colonial Pipeline transport fuel, as service resumes across the U.S. following a ransomware attack that that took it offline last week.

Why it matters: The century-old Jones Act requires ships to be built in the U.S. and crewed by American workers, but the waiver means foreign companies can transport gasoline and diesel to areas where there are fuel shortages.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza on May 13, 2021. Israeli forces said on May 12 they had killed a senior Hamas commander and bombed several buildings. Gaza's health ministry has said children are among the dead. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 continued into early Thursday. It come days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.