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The US manufacturing sector entered its longest contractionary streak since 2009 as elevated interest rates slow demand and higher costs weigh on business.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index tracking factory activity edged up to 47.1 last month from 46.3 in March, but weaker than economists’ forecasts for 46.8.

Readings below 50 indicate the sector is contracting and April marked the sixth straight month below that threshold. That is the longest streak since the first half of 2009.

New orders remained depressed, while future demand remains uncertain as companies continue to work down overdue deliveries and backlogs, said Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing business survey committee.

Prices for raw materials increased in April, with some companies noting that price reductions may have ended in the near- to medium-term.

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