Saturday, July 2, 2011

02/07/2011: Irish Manufacturing PMI

Last month I was expressing some concerns about the direction of the PMIs, as well as questioning the argument that confidence of its own, is causally capable of driving fundamentals, rather than reflect them. The latest data for PMIs in Manufacturing from NCB Stockbrokers released today (covering June 2011) confirms the validity of my concerns. Here are the headlines:

  • Manufacturing PMI for June fell to 49.8 - below the critical 50 mark, implying contraction in the overall manufacturing activity. The PMIs are down from 51.8 in May 2011. This is the first time since September 2010 that PMIs are below 50. While in order to establish a trend the PMIs should drop below ca 48, the swing from 51.8 to 49.8 is statistically consistent with at least 70% chance of this drop being a sign of real deterioration.
  • The 12mo MA now stands at 52.6, with 3mo average at 52.5 down from 56.1 in 3 months for January-March 2011. Same period 3mo average for 2010 was 53.1 and for 2009 it was 39.3.
  • Output overall also moved into contraction territory with June reading of 49.3 down from May reading of 52.6. Again, the magnitude of the swing is statistically significant. 12 mo MA now stands at 54.0 while 3mo average at 53.5 down from the previous 3mo average of 59.2.
  • Output has not been below 50 since February 2010.

  • New orders are down to 48.7 in June from 52.9 in May - a very strong decline and are now below 50 for the first time since September 2010. In Q2 2011 the average new orders reading was 53.0 against 58.6 for Q1 2011. 12mo MA is 53.3 in June 2011 well ahead of the current monthly reading.
  • New export orders are the only component of PMIs that still signals expansion, albeit at 51.5 in June this expansion is much slower than 58.7 recorded in May 2011. New exports orders 12mo MA in June was 56.0. Q2 2011 reading of 56.4 is significantly below Q1 2011 reading of 60.4. same period average for 2010 was 57.4.
  • Backlogs and inventories are also signaling troubles ahead. Per NCB analysis: "As has been the case in each month since March, backlogs of work at Irish manufacturers decreased in June. Moreover, the rate of depletion accelerated sharply to the strongest since October 2009. According to respondents, reduced demand was a key factor behind the fall in outstanding business. More than 31% of panellists reported a drop in backlogs over the month, compared with just 9% that posted a rise." While inventories are still being depleted, the rate of depletion has slowed down to lowest since May 2008.
  • Suppliers delivery time extended to 19 months with the survey respondents highlighting "both shortages of raw materials and capacity pressures at suppliers as reasons for the latest deterioration."
  • Lastly, for the second consecutive month Irish producers cut back on their purchases of inputs into production in line with falling orders.

  • On prices front, "June data pointed to a further considerable increase in input prices at Irish manufacturing firms. Input costs have now risen throughout the past year-and-a-half. However, the rate of inflation eased for the third month running to the weakest since September 2010. Respondents noted that oil-related costs had been a key factor behind higher input prices." Input price index stood at 63.5 in June - down from 68.9 in May and down on 3mo and 12mo averages. At the same time, output prices index fell from 54.3 in May to 53.2 in June. "The rate of inflation [in terms of output prices] moderated for the third consecutive month to the slowest in the current period of increased charges. Panellists reported that the passing on of higher raw material costs to clients was the principal cause of the latest rise in output prices." So output prices are not catching up with input prices, implying margins are not being rebuilt.

  • In terms of employment, "staffing levels at Irish manufacturing firms decreased for the second consecutive month in June, with respondents largely attributing this to falling workloads. The rate of job cuts accelerated to the steepest since September 2010. All three monitored market groups posted a decline in employment." Employment index in manufacturing fell to 48.3 in June from 49.9 in May. The index now stands below 12mo average of 50.2, Q1 2011 reading of 53.2 and Q2 2011 average of 50.7. Q2 2010 reading was 49.0 - ahead of June 2011 reading.

All of this means that I was correct in pointing to the weaknesses in PMIs in May 2011 and, unfortunately, it means that per PMIs our Manufacturing has now re-entered a recessionary territory:
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