The seasonally adjusted Kagiso PMI stabilized at a fairly high level of 56.4 during April, only marginally lower than the 13-month peak of 57.2 index points reached in March, reports the organisation’s website.
Both the current activity and forward looking indicators remained robust, suggesting that the improved growth momentum in the factory sector during 2011Q1 was sustained in the early stages of the second quarter. Although the business activity and new sales orders indices declined slightly, at 58.4 and 61.1 index points respectively, the level of the indices indicates both robust manufacturing production and lively demand for factory goods.
However, it remains disappointing that the improved activity levels are to date not feeding through to increased hiring of workers. The PMI employment index rose by 2.1 points to 49 index points, but remained below the key 50 mark that separates job growth from retrenchment.
On a more positive note, input cost pressure eased somewhat, but at just below 83 index points, the PMI price index remained at a level indicative of fast rising producer prices.
Looking forward, it was heartening to see that the index measuring expected business conditions in six months time remained unchanged at 58.1 following declines during the previous two months.