High February PMI lifts industry spirits

Manufacturing has seen a significant growth in February with the Australian Industry Group – PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI) rising 4.4 points to 51.1, despite news of doom and gloom elsewhere in the news.

The improvement in the index follows five months of readings below the 50-point level separating expansion from contraction, according to the company.

Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout has welcomed the lift in manufacturing, saying the ‘substantial improvement’ is related to restocking.

"The welcome lift in the manufacturing index was largely off the back of a substantial improvement in the new order sub-index and those sub-indexes related to restocking,” she said.

“This suggests a more encouraging immediate outlook for the sector. While only reflecting a single month’s improvement, the result underlines the resilience of the sector in the face of extremely tough trading conditions and the impact of the strong dollar," said Ridout.

Sub sectors such as wood products and furniture; paper, printing and publishing; chemicals, petroleum and coal products are amongst many that have expanded in February.

The February lift follows various consecutive months of contraction, as Australian industry struggles to move through the last of the GFC.