Manufacturing purchasing managers' index up in January

Electronics 'Nano city Hwasung Campus' semiconductor factory in South Korea on Nov 19 2019

In a report, IHS Markit said the latest PMI signaled a moderate improvement in operating conditions at goods-producing firms. "If this is sustained, sales growth could strengthen further this year", Owen, for his part, acknowledged.

While analysts were surprised by the sudden jump in manufacturing PMI, it is for the 30th consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI has remained above the 50-point mark.

According to a private survey by data analytics firm IHS Markit, hiring activity has also improved in January, with firms increasing employment at the fastest rate in close to seven-and-a-half years. "However, the picture has change somewhat in the short space of time since the survey was conducted [13-24 January], with the disruption to business in China from the coronavirus bound to have an impact on German manufacturers' exports and sentiment in the coming months", said Phil Smith, Principal Economist at IHS Markit. January saw growth of new business, output, exports, input buying and employment gather speed. "By comparison, stocks of finished goods expanded only marginally".

Several companies also mentioned not replacing workers that had resigned, offsetting firms that hired additional labor.

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"Manufacturers reported a sharp deterioration in supplier performance mainly due to Taal volcanic eruption mid-way through the month that led to further traffic problems of vendors", it added.

Mr. Owen said it is important to note that the manufacturing sector was able to maintain its growth despite the eruption of Taal Volcano last month, which "notably affected" some businesses.

On the other hand, Owen emphasized "one clear issue heightened by the eruption was road traffic, which has disrupted delivery times in each of the past six months".

Input prices rose at the slowest rates in the past three years, while output prices increased at the fastest pace in five months, and broadly in line with the long-run series average. The Economic Survey 2019-20 projected India's economy to grow in the range of 6-6.50 per cent in the 2020-21 financial year.

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