China's manufacturing activity expands for 7th month in a row — China Focus

IHS Markit Wednesday said its Purchasing Managers Index for the sector, based on responses from 3,000 businesses, rose to 55.4 from 55.2 in January, reaching its highest level since April 2011. Input price inflation quickened in February, with the rate of increase accelerating to the fastest in two-and-a-half years, and companies passed on this increase.

It was the second month running that the seasonally adjuted PMI, a composite indicator created to provide a single-figure snapshot of the performance of the manufacturing economy, was above the neutral 50.0 value.

That reading "signaled another solid improvement in the health of the sector", coming from January 2017's 52.7 that was the weakest, so far, since the Philippine survey began in January a year ago.

British manufacturing sector continued to expand in February on output and orders but the pace of overall growth moderated to a three-month low.

Companies raised their staffing numbers further in February, with headcounts rising at small and medium enterprises, and large-scale manufacturers.

Official and private factory surveys show growth in both output and orders accelerated last month.

Manufacturing growth slowed last month despite the pound's weakness, the Chartered Institute for Procurement & Supply said today.

Its PMI dropped 1 point to 60.1 in February, indicating that activity levels continue to expand at a rapid pace.

"Yet despite persistent headwinds, principally the uncertainty around future trade terms and pricier imports as a result of the weaker pound, some exporting manufacturers are taking the opportunity to review their worldwide trade strategies and look beyond the European Union, especially taking advantage in the short term of the devaluation of sterling making our exports more competitive".

The sub-index for production was 53.7 percent, 0.6 percentage points higher than that recorded in January. This marks the sixth straight month of growth and it's the highest reading since August 2014. Also, personal income increased 0.4% in January, better than expected, following a 0.3% rise in January. There was evidence of higher prices for imported raw materials, such as metal and oil.

  • Leroy Wright