Ai Group: Australia’s manufacturing sector caps off a successful 2017

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Australia’s manufacturing sector has ended 2017 on a high note, building on the recovery it has experienced over the year.

According to Ai Group’s report, the Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI) posted a reading of 56.2 in December, down a slight 1.1 on the previous month.

The survey found that all seven activity sub-indexes in the Australian PMI expanded in December, with production, stocks (inventories) and supplier deliveries expanding at an accelerated pace.

It also revealed that six of the eight manufacturing sub-sectors expanded in December, led by the food & beverages sub-sector which recorded its highest monthly result since April 2016 (63.2 points).

The non-metallic mineral products (55.7 points) and machinery & equipment (55.4 points) sub-sectors both recorded their lowest index results for 2017, as did wood & paper products, which slipped into contraction (47.2 points).

The input prices sub-index dropped 5.6 points to 70.8 points in December, while wages dropped 3.9 points to 60.2.

The selling prices sub-index went up by 0.8 points to 53.4 in December.

Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said December marked the 15th consecutive month of expanding or stable conditions in the manufacturing sector, adding to the confidence and momentum that had been building over the past year.

“The healthy Australian PMI® reading of 56.2 is all the more impressive given the headwinds of the closure of auto assembly, high energy prices and growing skills shortages which have marked 2017,” Mr Willox said.

“Manufacturers will be looking to the new year for the progress on the National Energy Guarantee and other measures to put downward pressure on business costs.”

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