Austria: PMI returns to expansionary territory in February after 11 months
Business conditions in the Austrian manufacturing sector improved for the first time in nearly a year in February, with the UniCredit Bank Austria Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rising to 50.2 from 49.2 in January.
The soft improvement in operating conditions reflected output and employment growth and more upbeat expectations. Production returned to growth after nine consecutive months of falling output, with all main subsectors recording an uptick. Consequently, employment grew albeit it modestly; however, this contrasted a seven-month period of jobs being shed. Less positively, new orders dropped for the 14th month running, partly on the back of weakened external demand from southern Europe and China, with the latter mostly linked to the coronavirus. The novel viral outbreak, meanwhile, led to an increase in suppliers’ delivery times for the first time in a year, weighing on the headline figure. Yet despite this, manufacturers’ outlook on output in the year ahead rose to the highest level since the summer of 2018.
Turning to prices, input prices fell for the ninth month running and at the quickest rate since September last year while output prices dropped marginally.