The manufacturing industry continues to expand, though at a slowed rate, according to the Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index for March.
The monthly PMI survey found a “clear divergence” among the six sectors it tracks. Food and beverages (59.0), chemicals (51.3) and textiles, clothing and footwear, paper and printing (57.7) grew, while machinery and equipment (46.1), metals (46.4) and building materials, wood, furniture and others (44.7) did not. Any result above 50 indicates expansion and below it contraction.
The overall PMI result of 51 was down three points compared to February’s result.
“While gaining some ground, largely on the back of a lift in performance from the large food & beverage sub-sector, Australian manufacturing contributed to the slower pace of overall economic growth in March,” said Ai Group CEO Innes Willox, adding that the effects of drought and the construction sector slump continued to be felt.
“Domestic sales were sharply lower and the pace of production growth eased while employment and, to a lesser extent export sales, recorded another month of gains. Survey respondents attributed part of the fall in sales to wariness about the outcome of the upcoming federal election. With new orders flat, manufacturers will be looking to tomorrow’s Budget for a boost in business and consumer confidence.”
Four of seven activity indexes were stable or expanded.
The full report can be seen here.
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