Economics Resource Centre

Performance of Business Index - May 2020

Australian PBI®
Up 4.5 points
(seasonally adjusted)


Australian PBI®
Down 3.2 points


Next Release: 7 July 2020

May 2020 - OVERVIEW

Fall in business conditions eases in May

The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Business Index (Australian PBI) lifted by 4.5 points to 31.8 points in May (seasonally adjusted). This points to a further serious contraction in activity in May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but at a slower pace than in April. It comes after the Australian PBI recorded its lowest ever monthly result in April and the largest single-month drop since the series commenced in 2005. Results below 50 points indicate deteriorating business conditions in the month, with lower numbers indicating a faster pace of deterioration.

Three of the four activity indices (production, employment and new orders) in the Australian PBI also lifted in May after reaching record lows in April. Looking ahead, the new orders index improved by 7.0 points to 30.1 points but remains deeply contractionary. New orders are drying up rapidly across large segments of manufacturing and construction. Capacity utilisation improved to 70.0% of existing capacity across all business sectors. The index for supplier deliveries slipped 0.5 points lower to 32.6 points and its lowest since 2009, as businesses reduced their orders and reported disruptions to interstate and international freight services.


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