Lower dollar a great help, manufacturers looking to hire again

A Westpac-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey has identified positive signs in manufacturing, assisted by the Australian dollar’s decline and low interest rates.

AAP reports that the quarterly industrial survey result points to a bolstering by the lower dollar, which has declined by 25 per cent against the US currency compared to a year ago.

While the overall result (56.7) had has moderated since the last quarter (58.4), it was much improved compared to last year’s average of 52.4.

Kate Carnell, CEO of the ACCI, said that growth trends in the sector have continued to consolidate, and in the next six months three times as many expecting improvement rather than deterioration.

“It is great to see that manufacturing businesses are increasing overtime and, for the first time since 2013, boosting staff numbers,” Carnell said in a statement.

“The falling Australian dollar is making our exporters more competitive than they have been for several years and it appears likely our dollar will stay at this lower level for a fair while longer.”

Westpac predicts the dollar will continue to fall and be at $US 0.66 at the end of the year.