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Business hunkers down

Thursday, 2 Apr 2009 ( #404 ) - Australia
Local News Story
“Business is hunkering down and hoping that conditions will improve in the second half of the year,” says AiGroup chief executive Heather Ridout.
The latest Australian Industry Group - PricewaterhouseCoopers Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI), which measures manufacturing activity, suggests economic conditions have not bottomed out and the outlook remains uncertain.

"Business is hunkering down and hoping that conditions will improve in the second half of the year," says AiGroup chief executive Heather Ridout. "Whether they will, remains to be seen."

According to the survey, the manufacturing industry continued to deteriorate in March, although the rate of decline has eased.

Key Findings for March include:
• The seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group-PricewaterhouseCoopers Australian PMI rose slightly, by 1.7 points to 33.4.
• The inventory adjustment process continued in March, with sales being partly drawn from existing stocks as new orders fell again. The associated decline in manufacturing production gathered further momentum in March and employment fell for the 13th consecutive month.
• Firms continue to point to weak domestic and global demand for manufactured goods, including from China; project cancellations; lack of credit availability; and competition from overseas products as the prime causes of the downturn in manufacturing.
• Input cost growth eased modestly in March, while selling prices remained essentially stable. Wages growth eased for the sixth consecutive month.
• Exports fell as global demand for manufactured goods continues to decline.
• Manufacturing activity fell in all states except Tasmania where it rose slightly. The largest falls were recorded in New South Wales and South Australia.
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