Wednesday, April 3, 2013

3/4/2013: Irish Manufacturing PMI: March 2013

Manufacturing PMI data from NCB and Markit released yesterday was a bit of a disaster, mitigated only by the fact that Ireland's performance was in line with the abysmal reading for the entire euro area.

Headline seasonally adjusted Manufacturing PMI fell from 51.5 in February (indicative of a reasonably marked expansion, albeit still not statistically significant) to 48.6 in March (statistically not significant contraction). The swing of 2.9 points was the largest since July-August 2012. This was the first sub-50 reading in PMI since February 2012.

12mo MA is now at 51.4 against 6mo average of 51.1. 3mo MA is running at 50.1 and is substantially down on 3mo average through December 2012 (52.0). This compares favourably to 49.8 3mo average through March 2012, but is well below 56.1 average for 3mo period through March 2011 and marginally ahead of 3mo average through March 2010 (49.9).

Index volatility is running well above historical levels at 2008-present stdev at 5.33 against historical stdev of 4.40.

Output sub-index fell from 51.3 in February 2013 to 48.1 in March 2013, marking the lowest reading since January 2012 and the first sub-50 reading since April 2012. 12mo MA and 6mo MA are both at 51.7, with 3mo MA at 50.3 against previous 3mo MA at 53.1.

New orders sub-index also fell below 50 line with February 50.8 weak expansion slipping into contraction territory at 49.1 in March. Once again, this was the weakest reading since January 2012.

New Export Orders came in at 47.6 - a sharp contraction and a massive fall on 50.1 in February, signalling the worst performance since August 2009. 12mo MA is now at 51.9, with 6mo MA at 51.0 and 3mo MA at 49.5 (previous 3mo MA was at 52.5, implying a 3.0 point swing down). Current reading is statistically significant sub-50 reading.

As you know, I compute current and forward-looking composite indices of activity.

Current Composite PMI reading is at 48.3 in March, down from 51.4 in February and marks the lowest reading since January 2010. Forward Composite PMI reading is at 48.4 - the worst performance since December 2011 and down on 50.5 reading in February.

Output prices fell at 48.2 in March, same as in January and down from expansion at 51.2 in February 2013. Meanwhile, input prices inflation moderated, but remained robust at 54.8 in March, down from 57.1 in January and February. Thus, overall profitability fell. In last 24 months, profitability rose in the sector in only one month.

Employment fell sharply to 47.2 in March against expansion of 52.7 in February. March reading was the lowest since October 2011.

Overall, the PMI for manufacturing sector was a disaster!
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