India's manufacturing PMI hits 3-month high of 56.4 in March amid demand resilience

India's manufacturing PMI hits 3-month high of 56.4 in March amid demand resilience

The March PMI data pointed to an improvement in overall operating conditions for the 21st straight month.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, April 03, 2023, 12:26 PM IST
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India's manufacturing PMI hits 3-month high of 56.4 in March amid demand resilience | Unsplash

Manufacturing activities in India touched a three-month high in March boosted by faster expansions in new orders and output amid demand resilience and easing of cost pressures, according to a monthly survey by S&P Global.

The seasonally adjusted S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose from 55.3 in February to 56.4 in March, signaling the strongest improvement in operating conditions in 2023 so far.

The March PMI data pointed to an improvement in overall operating conditions for the 21st straight month. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion while a score below 50 indicates contraction.

"Underlying demand for Indian goods remained strong in March, underscored by the quickest upturn in factory orders for three months. Hence, production continued to expand at a robust clip and firms stepped up their stock building efforts," said Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Input cost inflation

According to the survey, input cost inflation retreated to its second-lowest mark in two-and-a-half years in March as pressure on supply chains subsided and the availability of raw materials improved.

Subsequently, goods producers concentrated on rebuilding their stocks. Robust increases in buying levels in recent months supported a near-record accumulation of input inventories in March. There was also an increase in the index as the growth in factory orders due to the strong underlying demand.

A PMI reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity, whereas if below 50 it indicates a contraction in activity.

Firms indicate no change in cost burdens

On the prices front, close to 96 per cent firms signaled no change in cost burdens since February.

"Although selling prices increased further at the end of the last fiscal quarter, the rate of inflation was moderate and broadly similar to February. Several panelists reportedly left their fees unchanged amid efforts to boost sales," Lima said.

Jobs

On the jobs front, goods producers kept payroll numbers broadly unchanged in March, as outstanding business volumes rose at a marginal rate that was the weakest in a year.

"Companies reported abundant capacity among themselves and their suppliers. Pending workloads expanded only marginally in March, hindering job creation," Lima said.

Expectations of Indian manufacturers

Going ahead, Indian manufacturers expect improved customer relations, new product releases and advertising to support sales and subsequently production over the course of the coming 12 months.

"Although manufacturers were upbeat towards future new orders, they somewhat doubted that inflation would continue to recede. Such worries restricted optimism towards output prospects," Lima said.

Meeting of Monetary Policy Committee of RBI

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank will be meeting for three days on April 3, 5 and 6 and on Thursday will come out with the first bi-monthly monetary policy for fiscal 2023-24.

Repo rate

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already increased the repo rate by a total of 250 basis points since May in a bid to contain inflation though it has continued to remain above the central bank's comfort zone of 6 per cent for most of the time.

CPI

The Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation was 6.52 per cent in January and 6.44 per cent in February.

With input from PTI

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