- The New York Federal Reserve’s index of manufacturing conditions improved at the fastest rate since April 2010 in July, official data showed on Tuesday.

In a report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its general business conditions index increased to 25.6 this month from a reading of 19.3 in June. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 17.0 in July.

On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions.

The new orders index was little changed at 18.8, while the shipments index rose nine points to 23.6. Both indexes were at multiyear highs.

Labor market conditions continued to improve, with indexes pointing to a solid increase in employment levels and a slight increase in hours worked.

Although many of the indexes for the six-month outlook were significantly lower, conditions overall were expected to continue improving in the months ahead.

The Empire State index is of interest to traders primarily because it is seen as an early forecast of the national Institute for Supply management factory survey.

Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar held on to gains against the euro, with EUR/USD shedding 0.04% to trade at 1.3614.

Meanwhile, the outlook for U.S. equity markets was modestly higher. The Dow futures indicated a gain of 0.15%, the S&P 500 pointed to a rise of 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 indicated an increase of 0.1%.

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