Manufacturing grows for fourth consecutive month

The Australian manufacturing sector grew again in January though at a slower rate than the previous month, according to a key index.

The Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index for the month was 51.2, down by 4.2 points on December. (Readings above 50 indicate expansion in activity, while those under 50 indicate contraction).

Four of the eight manufacturing sub-sectors expanded in January, with food and beverages down 0.9 points to 53.9.

“Conditions for Australia’s manufacturers remained positive in January despite easing from December’s end-of-year surge. While domestic sales slipped and there was a build-up of inventories, exports grew further in January and production was held at December’s levels,” commented Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox.

“The near-term outlook for the sector as a whole was boosted by another lift in new orders. The major emerging concern – particularly among the more energy-intensive manufacturers – is the deteriorating energy price outlook which threatens to stifle the tentative recovery underway in the sector. Conditions are ripe for the boost to investment that would be provided by an easing of the company tax rate.”

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