Manufacturing lifts in February

Manufacturing was back in growth territory in February after five months of contraction, according to Australian PMI

March 1, 2011

Manufacturing was back in growth territory in February with the seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group - PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index rising 4.4 points to 51.1.

The improvement in the index follows five months of readings below the 50-point level separating expansion from contraction.

The sub sectors of wood products & furniture; paper, printing & publishing; chemicals, petroleum & coal products; miscellaneous manufactures; and, to a smaller extent, construction materials sub-sectors, all expanded last month.

Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout says the lift in the manufacturing index was largely off the back of a substantial improvement in the new order sub-index and those sub-indexes related to restocking.

"This suggests a more encouraging immediate outlook for the sector. While only reflecting a single month's improvement, the result underlines the resilience of the sector in the face of extremely tough trading conditions and the impact of the strong dollar," Ridout says.

Australian PMI key findings for February show the production sub-index fell 1 point to 49.3, seasonally adjusted, indicating manufacturing output declined slightly.

The new orders sub-index rose 7.2 points to 52.3, marking the first increase in new orders after five months of decline.

Meanwhile, the employment sub-index decreased 4 points in February to 45, and inventories rose 13.2 points to 52.1.

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