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Financial News: Australia Private Sector Contracts For Second Straight Mon

Australia Private Sector Contracts For Second Straight Month

01/05/2020 - 23:32:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Australia's private sector contracted for the second straight month in December, reflecting declines both services and manufacturing output, data from IHS Markit showed Monday.

The Commonwealth Bank composite output index fell marginally to 49.6 from 49.7 in November. A score below 50 indicates contraction.

Although the services Purchasing Mangers' Index improved slightly to 49.8 in December from 49.7 in November, the index remained below neutral 50.

According to Markit, drought-related disruptions and subdued sales growth continued to dampen services output.

The decrease in services activity contributed to the first fall in employment for five months amid reports of company restructuring and layoffs. Meanwhile, reduced output constrained the pricing power of firms.

Finally, longer-term prospects remained positive. Over half of panelists expect higher activity over the next 12 months.

Elsewhere, data from the Australian Industry Group showed that the manufacturing sector shrank for two consecutive months for the first time since mid-2015. The Australian Performance of Manufacturing increased slightly by 0.2 points to 48.3 in December.

AiG said with new orders again in negative territory in December and trending down since March, the current weak conditions for manufacturers are likely to continue into the New Year, with the strong food & beverages sector a notable exception.

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