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Australian PMI®: Manufacturing races into Autumn

The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI®) increased by a further 1.1 points to 59.9 in March, indicating a sixth consecutive month of strong recovery and the index's highest monthly result since March 2018 (readings above 50 points indicate expansion in activity, with higher results indicating a faster rate of expansion).

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Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said: "The strong recovery in Australian manufacturing gathered further pace in March with growth across the full range of sectors. Production and sales continued to expand despite pulling back from very rapid rates of growth in February. Employment growth surged with manufacturers’ confidence boosted by buoyant levels of new orders. The machinery & equipment sector benefitted from higher demand from across the industrial, mining and agricultural sectors while the metal products and building equipment sectors supplied into healthy levels of residential construction and infrastructure activity. Some growing pains are evident with deliveries of inputs not keeping up with sales of finished products and with reports of skill shortages becoming more widespread. The challenge over the next couple of months will be to maintain momentum as fiscal support is wound back further and while COVID-19 remains a threat," Mr Willox said.


Australian PMI®: Key Findings for March 2021

  • All seven activity indices in the Australian PMI® expanded in March (see table below), with the new orders index (up 3.6 points to 63.5) suggesting further strong production in the coming months.
  • All six manufacturing sectors in the Australian PMI® reported positive trading conditions (see table below), with especially buoyant conditions in the machinery & equipment (up 0.6 points to 65.0) and textiles, clothing, footwear, paper & printing products (up 3.5 points to 66.1) sectors.
  • The input prices index eased a little in March (down 2.8 points to 71.3) but remains above its long-run average (67.5 points). The selling prices index jumped to its highest level since 2008 (up 8.5 points to 59.7) indicating that, on average, selling prices rose sharply in March and many manufacturers are passing on their elevated input costs.
  • The average wages index increased further in March (up 5.6 points to 63.8), taking it back above its long-run average (58.6 points) after dropping sharply in 2020 due to COVID-19.

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Seasonally adjusted

Index this month

Change from last month

Long-run average

Trend

Index this month

Change from last month

Long-run average

Australian PMI®

59.9

1.1

50.6

Food & beverages

57.6

0.2

53.7

Production

57.2

-8.6

51.4

Machinery & Equipment

65.0

0.6

50.0

Employment

66.0

8.2

49.0

Metals products

51.7

0.8

47.3

New Orders

63.5

3.6

51.2

Petroleum, coal, chemicals & rubber products

59.1

-1.2

51.4

Supplier Deliveries

54.1

0.9

50.9

Building, wood, furniture & other

55.8

2.8

49.8

Finished Stocks

52.7

4.7

49.6

Textiles, clothing, footwear, paper & printing

66.1

3.5

46.7

Exports

51.3

-2.8

50.0

       

Sales

58.8

-3.4

49.2

       

Input prices

71.3

-2.8

67.5

       

Selling prices

59.7

8.5

48.3

       

Average wages

63.8

5.6

58.6

       

Capacity utilisation (%)

82.6

4.8

74.0

       

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.

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Media Enquiries
Tony Melville: 0419 190 347