Australian manufacturing’s hot streak continues

The country’s manufacturing industry is enjoying its longest period of expansion since 2006, according to the Australian Industry Group’s PMI result, released this morning.

Following January’s overall PMI of 51.5, today’s figures showed a result of 53.5, which is also the biggest monthly expansion since July 2010.

Any result above 50 indicates expansion. The further above 50, the greater the growth result. February’s overall result represented the eight straight months of growth.

The Ai Group’s chief executive, Innes Willox, said that the sector had enjoyed a running start to the year, and confidence was building in the expectation that the Australian dollar would stay around its current level.

“Production, sales, new orders and exports all lifted in February to consolidate the gains made by manufacturers over the second half of 2015,” said Willox in a statement.

“There is little doubt that greater competitiveness in export markets and in the domestic market due to the lower dollar is central to this turnaround.”

The result was overall positive, but there were some areas of concern, said Willox.

“Important sub-sectors, including the metal products sub-sector, remain in contraction as does the large machinery & equipment sub-sector despite improving trends in recent months,” he added.

“Many businesses are being adversely impacted by the higher costs of imported inputs associated with the lower dollar.”

Notable activity sub-indices included production’s result of 60.1 (its best result since 2004), new orders stayed positive at 52.4 (down from 52.8) and sales returning to expansion (53.0 points).