Indicating the overall slowdown in the economy, India’s manufacturing activity slowed more than expected to a seven-month low in September due to softening demand and output, a business survey has said. With order flow turning sluggish amid “difficult economic climate”, the Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI — a composite monthly indicator of manufacturing performance, which was earlier under HSBC — stood at 51.2 in September, down from 52.3 in August. A figure above 50 represents expansion while one below that level means contraction.
“Despite having been supported by sustained increases in new work, growth of Indian manufacturing production in September was weighed down by a difficult economic climate,” Pollyanna De Lima, Economist at Markit and author of the report, said. However, it says the region’s growth prospects for the July-September quarter are encouraging. According to PMI data, the manufacturing sector looks set to provide a stronger contribution to GDP than it did in the April-June quarter, Lima added.
As per the survey, PMI was weighed down by slower increases in new orders and output as growth of new work moderated to the weakest since June, reflecting challenging economic conditions. Sluggish rise in new business inflows and a cautious approach to costs reportedly led manufacturers to shed jobs in September. Lima said, “Slower increases in new business inflows have hindered firms’ ability to recruit.
The sector’s labour market was squeezed in September as companies attempted to minimise operating costs.” On the prices front, the report said that input costs eased for the second consecutive month and manufacturers passed lower input costs on to clients.