static image

Australian PMI®: Drought, bushfires and coronavirus compound manufacturing slowdown

The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI®) fell a further 1.1 points to 44.3 in February – its lowest result in almost five years, and the first time the index has recorded four consecutive months of contraction since 2014 (readings below 50 points indicate contraction in activity, with the distance from 50 indicating the strength of the contraction).

While the majority of Australian PMI® respondents remain concerned about drought, weak demand from the construction sector and a general slowdown in the economy, coronavirus emerged as a concern for respondents for the first time in February, impacting negatively on the exports of Australian manufactured goods.

Download full report

Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said: "The manufacturing sector recorded a fourth consecutive month of contraction with the impacts of drought and the devastating bushfires continuing to be a drag on the sector. The disruptive effects of the coronavirus, including on supply chains, are deepening and adding to the slowdown that has been in train since the closing months of 2019. The large food & beverages sector was the only sector that expanded in February with all other sectors experiencing steeper falls than in January. The coronavirus is negatively impacting the exports of fast-moving consumable items to China and a number of businesses reported supply chain difficulties arising from factory shutdowns in China. Drought conditions continue to be raised as a negative factor despite the rain in some parts of the country. While the fallout from the bushfires was again reported as disrupting activity, fewer manufacturers identified this as a major detractor. The new orders index fell to its lowest level since mid-2013 although sector-wide employment is still holding up," Mr Willox said.

Australian PMI®: Key Findings for February:

  • Six of the seven activity indices in the Australian PMI® contracted in February, with employment the only index being broadly stable (up 0.7 points to 49.1). Production (down 4.8 points to 40.4), new orders (down 2.0 points to 41.7), sales (down 2.3 points to 43.1) and exports (down 5.3 points to 44.5) all contracted at a faster pace than the previous month.
  • All six manufacturing sectors in the Australian PMI® experienced weaker conditions in February than in January (trend – see table below). Food & beverages remains the only manufacturing sector in expansion (down 1.9 points to 55.0), but even it has fallen significantly in recent months.
  • Coronavirus is negatively impacting the exports of Australian manufactured goods, particularly consumable items into China, while the 'heavy' manufacturing sectors are reporting supply chain difficulties because of factory shutdowns in China.
  • The input prices index slowed by 4.5 points to 57.4 in February, falling well below the long-run average for this index of 67.6 (since 2003) and the lowest reading since May 2013. The selling prices index recovered 3.8 points to return to broad stability at 50.4 points.
  • The average wages index, trending down since its recent mid-2018 peak, edged lower again in February (down 0.3 points to 54.9).

View all Economic Indicators 

Seasonally adjusted

Index this month

Change from last month

12 month average

Trend

Index this month

Change from last month

12 month average

Australian PMI®

44.3

-1.1

50.6

Food & beverages

55.0

-1.9

53.5

Production

40.4

-4.8

51.3

Machinery & Equipment

47.1

-1.3

49.7

Employment

49.1

0.7

48.8

Metals products

35.9

-3.2

47.4

New Orders

41.7

-2.0

51.2

Petroleum, coal, chemicals & rubber products

44.7

-1.1

51.3

Supplier Deliveries

46.5

2.8

50.9

Building, wood, furniture & other

35.4

-0.8

50.2

Finished Stocks

48.5

0.7

49.6

Textiles, clothing, footwear, paper & printing

39.1

-0.6

46.5

Exports

44.5

-5.3

50.1

       

Sales

43.1

-2.3

49.2

       

Input prices

57.4

-4.5

67.6

       

Selling prices

50.4

3.8

48.1

       

Average wages

54.9

-0.3

59.1

       

Capacity utilisation (%)

74.2

-1.1

73.7

       

 Results above 50 points indicate expansion. * All indexes for sectors in the Australian PMI® are reported in trend terms (Henderson 13-month filter).

Background: The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI®) is a national composite index calculated from a weighted mix of the diffusion indices for production, new orders, deliveries, inventories and employment. An Australian PMI® reading above 50 points indicates that manufacturing activity is expanding; below 50, that it is declining. The distance from 50 indicates the strength of expansion or decline. Australian PMI® results are based on responses from a national sample of manufacturers that includes all states and all sub-sectors. The Australian PMI® uses the ANZSIC industry classifications for manufacturing sub-sectors and sub-sector weights derived from ABS industry output data. Seasonally adjusted and trend data are calculated according to ABS methodology. The Australian PMI® commenced in 1992. More information about the history and methodology of the Australian PMI® is available online.

NOW AVAILABLE:
Click here for full list of 2020 release dates for the Australian PMI®.

Media Enquiries
Tony Melville: 0419 190 347