India’s manufacturing upturn gathered momentum in March, with stronger inflows of new work leading firms to scale up output. Registering above the crucial 50.0 threshold for the third consecutive month in March, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance – was indicative of another improvement in business conditions across the sector.
Along with improved domestic demand, producers also recorded an increase in new export business. Production growth accelerated to the fastest since August 2015, amid a stronger upturn in new business inflows.
New business inflows increased at a solid pace, and one that was the most pronounced since last July. Growth of new export orders was sustained, but the rate of expansion remained slight. Buying levels increased further in March, which survey participants linked to stock-building initiatives. Although quicker than in February, the rate of growth was slight overall.
The rate of accumulation was slight overall and in line with those seen throughout the current four-month sequence of growth. According to panellists, both existing and new orders were often fulfilled directly from stocks.
Backlogs of work decreased in March, highlighting spare capacity in the sector. This prevented manufacturers from taking on additional workers and employment levels were broadly unchanged again.
Meanwhile, input costs rose amid reports of the weaker rupee resulting in higher prices paid for imported raw materials. Tariffs were subsequently raised. Rates of cost and charge inflation were at 3-and-16-month highs respectively. (MCJ)
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