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By Sophia Rodrigues
SYDNEY (MNI) - Following are the five observations we made from Australian
Industry Group's Performance of Manufacturing Index published Thursday:
--The index fell 1.2 points to 57.5 in February but continued its longest
run of expansion since 2005. February marked a seventeenth month of expanding or
stable conditions and since July 2015, the index has contracted just two times
-- August and September 2016.
--The wages sub-index fell 2.3 points to 56.8 and to the lowest level since
July 2017. However, comments from manufacturers suggest stronger prospects for
wages growth. More manufacturers are reporting labor and skill shortages, and
some report increased reliance on overtime and many are looking to employ more
staff but find it difficult to find skilled workers for their locations or
--Selling prices recovered slightly to move into expansion but continued to
indicate ongoing cost pressures from manufacturing inputs and especially energy
--Six of the eight sub-sectors expanded in February in trend terms. The
largest food and beverages sub-sector was firmly in expansion at 57.7 points and
saw strong exports but selling prices remained subdued due to weakening
wholesale prices. The machinery and equipment sub-sector saw strong new orders
particularly for transport and specialist industrial machinery, and increase in
export orders to the U.S. and Asia.
--Capacity utilization rose to match the record high seen in December 2017
(79.7%) and suggests investment and employment might need to expand in some
parts of manufacturing, in order to meet future demand.
--MNI Sydney Bureau; tel: +61 2-9716-5467; email: firstname.lastname@example.org