Australian manufacturing grows for fourth straight month

The Australian manufacturing grew again in October but only slightly, according to a key index.

The Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index for October was 50.2, a 1.9 point fall from the September reading of 52.11 but still above the 50 point mark that separates expansion from contraction.

Four of the eight manufacturing sub-sectors expanded, while four contracted.

Those which expanded included wood & paper products (down 5.5 points to 64.0); textiles, clothing, footwear, furniture & other manufacturing (up 0.5 points to 56.9); petroleum, coal, chemical & rubber products (up 0.3 points to 57.5); and, for the first time in five months, non-metallic mineral products (up 3.6 points to 52.6).

The sub-sectors which contracted were machinery and equipment (up 2.2 points to 45.0); metal products (up 1.4 points to 48.1); very small printing & recorded media (down 0.9 points to 46.6); and food, beverages & tobacco (down 3.8 points to 49.7).

“A strong export performance in October helped manufacturing hold onto the gains made by the sector over the previous three months, clocking up the longest expansion in five years,” commented Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox.

“There was, however, some easing of momentum: while production lifted again, domestic sales and employment were lower and new orders were broadly unchanged.

“The process of broadening the base of growth across the economy remains gradual and tentative. There is clearly scope for stimulatory measures to boost domestic activity.”