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Australian PMIĀ®: Manufacturing recovery slows again in March

The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI®) fell 3.0 points to 51.0 in March marking a return to the flat conditions at the close of 2018 and in contrast to February’s stronger result (readings above 50 points indicate expansion in activity, with the distance from 50 indicating the strength of the increase).

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Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said: "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. Metal product manufacturers, and businesses in the machinery & equipment and building products sub-sectors fell deeper into the red as drought and the slump in the construction sector continued to flow through supply chains. 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," Mr Willox said.

Australian PMI®: Key Findings for March:  

  • Four of the seven activity indexes in the Australian PMI® indicated expansion or stable conditions in March (see table below), with all indexes lower this month compared to February except for finished stocks (up 1.6 points to 46.1). Production (down 5.1 points to 52.8) and employment (down 1.1 points to 56.6) remained in positive territory, while the new orders index was stable (down 2.0 points to 50.0).
  • There was a clear divergence among the six manufacturing sectors in March. Food & beverages (up 1.4 points to 59.0), chemicals (down 0.8 points to 51.3) and textiles, clothing, footwear, paper & printing (up 2.0 points to 57.7) expanded, while machinery & equipment (down 1.7 points to 46.1), metals (down 0.9 points to 46.4) and building materials, wood, furniture & other manufacturing (down 2.5 points to 44.7) contracted (trend).
  • The input prices index dropped 5.9 points to 65.1 in March. It has decelerated since reaching a peak of 75.6 points in September 2018, and fell below its long-run average (67.7 points) for the first time in a year.
  • The selling prices index rose by 1.4 points to 53.0, indicating that prices for some manufactured goods are continuing to rise following the price falls of December 2018.
  • The average wages index rose by 1.7 points to 61.2 in March. After rising steadily throughout 2017 and 2018, the wages index has been trending lower since its recent peak in September 2018, indicating that fewer manufacturing businesses are now implementing wage rises, relative to the recent peak in Q3 of 2018.

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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®

51.0

-3.0

54.1

Food & beverages

59.0

1.4

58.3

Production

52.8

-5.1

55.2

Machinery & Equipment

46.1

-1.7

52.9

Employment

56.6

-1.1

53.2

Metals products

46.4

-0.9

51.9

New Orders

50.0

-2.0

54.6

Petroleum, coal, chemicals & rubber products

51.3

-0.8

55.0

Supplier Deliveries

45.7

-7.2

54.7

Building, wood, furniture & other

44.7

-2.5

55.5

Finished Stocks

46.1

1.6

51.1

TCF, printing & paper products

57.7

2.0

48.5

Exports

50.7

-4.5

53.1

       

Sales

46.4

-8.0

53.3

       

Input prices

65.1

-5.9

70.7

       

Selling prices

53.0

1.4

52.7

       

Average wages

61.2

1.7

61.7

       

Capacity utilisation (%)

80.2

3.7

77.2

       

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. Click here for full list of 2019 release dates for the Australian PMI®.
 
Media Enquiries: Tony Melville: 0419 190 347