Last night I wrote briefly about the Services PMI for January for Ireland (see post here and an added post on the longer term link between PMI and Services Index here). Going over the database, however, made me realise that I have not posted on the latest Manufacturing PMI figures for January, so correcting this, here's the analysis.
Headline seasonally adjusted Manufacturing PMI posted a decline from 51.4 in December 2012 to 50.3 in January 2013, leaving the index notionally above 50.0 line for 11th month in a row. Alas, 50.3 is not statistically significantly different from 50.0 and in total out of the 11 months of consecutive notional readings above 50, in reality only 3 months posted readings that are significantly distinct from 50.0 zero-growth line.
Dynamics are flat at just around 51.5 (also not statistically distinct from 50.0), with 12mo MA at 51.5, 3mo MA at 51.4 and previous 3 mo MA at 51.6. This, however, compares relatively positively with 3mo MA through January 2012 (48.5) and 3mo MA through January 2010 (48.6) although the current 3mo MA reading is below 53.1 reading for 3mo MA through January 2011. 6mo MA is 51.5.
In brief - growth is sluggish and lacking a catalyst.
Per above, Output index posted a slight rise in headline reading from 51.2 in December to 51.5 in January, marking 9th consecutive month of above 50 notional readings, with just 4 of these months posting readings statistically consistent with being above 50.0. 3mo MA was at 52.2 in 3mos through October 2012 and is at 52.2 in 3mo through January 2013. It is bang-on in line with 12mo MA of 52.1 and is identical to 52.2 6mo MA.
New Orders sub-index posted surprise contraction to 49.5 (not statistically distinct from zero-growth, so a very shallow contraction if any) in January from shallow growth of 50.9 in December. 12mo MA is at 52.0, with 3mo MA through January 2013 at 50.8 and 3mo MA through October 2012 at 52.3, marking a clear slowdown in growth over the last 6 months. That said, January 2013 was the first sub-50 reading in the series since January 2012.
New Export Orders posted slower rate of expansion at 50.9 in January 2013, down from 53.6 in December 2012. Again, as above, 50.9 is not statistically different from 50.0, although 53.6 was clearly statistically above 50.0. January 2013 reading was the weakest in 4 months and the second weakest in 11 months. 3mo MA through January 2013 is at 52.2, above 51.2 3mo MA through October 2012, 6mo MA at 51.7 and 12mo MA is at 52.5, so by all averages, January came in relatively weak.
Other series summed up in the charts below:
Output prices posted a clear decline in January 2013 (48.2) after posting a mild expansion (and a surprise one) in December 2012 (51.3). Overall, in last 24 months, only 9 months posted notional above 50.0 readings, when it comes to output prices. Meanwhile, input prices continued to inflate, with index reading of 57.1 in January 2012 being somewhat lower than 59.9 in December. In last 24 months, there was only one instance when input prices inflation was negative. All of which does not bode well for profit margins: in 3 mo through January 2013, average input prices inflation was consistent with 58.7 and in 3mo through October 2012 it stood at 59.4. At the same time, output prices were contracting by 49.7 in 3mo through January 2013 and were expanding at a slower pace than inputs costs were inflating (51.7 vs 59.4) in 3 months through October. In other words, profitability has been shrinking, on average over last 6 months and indeed over the last 12 months.
Now onto composite measures of current and future activity. These are computed based on my own formula, so not a part of NCB-released data. The Current Composite index is based on a weighted average of Output and headline PMI index, relating current PMI to Output, as opposed to changes in stocks of goods and purchases orders. The Forward Composite Index is based on a weighted average of New Orders and New Export Orders, weighted relative to each series correlation to headline PMI. As such, both indices attempt to remove impact of temporary factors on underlying activity.
Current Composite Manufacturing PMI (CCM index) fell from 51.3 in December 2012 to 50.9 in January 2013, with overall notional levels above 50 recorded now in 9 consecutive months. However, statistically, the CCM Index was above 50.0 in only four out of the last 12 months. Forward Composite PMI (FCM index) also slipped in January from 52.2 in December 2012 to 50.2. Above 50.0 notional readings were now recorded in 11 consecutive months, although only four months posted readings statistically above 50.0.
On the net, the indices mark significant slowdown in current and forward activity, although current readings are consistent with progressing weak recovery (statistically indifferent from stagnation). Given overall global improvements in sentiment and trade, this can represent simply a lagging effect to global growth (upside potential) and / or drag on Irish activity from the Euro area and the UK economies weaker-than-global performance (downside potential).