Manufacturing performance lifts in April

The Australian Industry Group (AI Group), Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI) has risen by 3.8 points to 54.8 in April, marking the fastest growth across the manufacturing sector.

The monthly PMI survey revealed that four of the six manufacturing sectors recording results above 50, led by food and beverage sector up (1.6 points to 61.8). Only machinery and equipment (down 1.4 points to 44.6) and metal products (down 0.8 points to 44.7) remained in contraction.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said Australia’s manufacturing industry expanded in April with production, sales, exports and new orders all gaining ground.

“Advances were most marked in the food & beverages sector which is the largest component of domestic manufacturing with support from chemicals manufacturers and a range of smaller sub-sectors including wood products, clothing & textiles, paper and printing.

“Both the metal products and machinery and equipment sectors contracted further in April, weighed down by flow-on effects from drought and the downturn in construction activity along with some reported hesitancy to invest associated with the upcoming federal election,” he said.

“Employment growth eased in April while pressure on producer margins continued with selling prices unable to keep up with wage and input price movements. Elevated energy prices remain the largest concern for many manufacturers with stable and effective policy in this area a key area of interest,” said Willox.

This PMI measure perceived changes in activity levels across Australia’s manufacturing sector from one to the next. Anything above 50 signals that activity levels are improving while a reading below suggests they’re deteriorating.