Brazil: Manufacturing operating conditions improve in January
Conditions in Brazil’s manufacturing sector improved at a quicker pace in January, with the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rising to 51.0 from 50.2 in December. Consequently, the PMI edged a notch above the 50-threshold and continued to signal an overall improvement in business conditions in the manufacturing sector over the previous month.
The manufacturing sector strengthened slightly at the outset of 2020, as new business inflows and production gained traction.. New orders picked up from December, although demand was curbed by competitive conditions, uncertainty surrounding economic policies, and declining new export orders. In light of subdued demand, goods producers continued to reduce backlogs of work in January and scaled back purchasing activity, while using up current inventories. On a positive note, hiring activity rebounded in January, and increased at the fastest pace since last September. Nevertheless, manufacturers remained optimistic at the start of 2020, with just over three quarters of all survey respondents expecting output growth in the year ahead.
In terms of prices, input cost inflation softened in January, but remained elevated due to higher costs for raw materials, which were offset by some discounting due to ample stocks. Furthermore, selling charges increased at a stronger pace in January, although the rate of output inflation remained below that of input.
Commenting on January’s result, Pollyanna De Lima, Principal Economist at IHS Markit noted:
“While comfort can be taken from the fact that Brazil’s manufacturing industry remains in expansion mode, the latest PMI results suggest that growth failed to gain meaningful traction.”