Australian food manufacturing expands in latest period, PMI stats
Food manufacturing was one of four manufacturing sub-sectors to expand in November 2014, according to the Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI).
Food manufacturing expansion
Among the eight manufacturing sub-sectors, four expanded in November 2014. The large food, beverages & tobacco (up 2.4 points to 59.1 points) and the smaller wood & paper products (up 2.1 points to 61.6 points) sub-sectors continued their recent strong growth, while conditions improved in the textiles, clothing & furniture (up 7.3 points to 54.4) and non-metallic mineral products (up 5.0 points to 50.2) sub-sectors.
Commentators have suggested that the expansion of food manufacturing in Australia is due to a dairy processing boom, and agribusiness food processing investments in Australian companies by large international groups.
Australian Food News reported in November 2014 that the Australian dairy processing industry was likely to benefit from a Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia. In October 2014, Australian Food News reported that Australian Dairy Farms had become first milk producer to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
In November 2014, Australian Food News reported that Brazil’s JBS, whose Australian subsidiary JBS Australia is Australia’s largest meat processor, had signed a $1.45 billion deal to acquire ham, bacon and smallgoods producer Primo Smallgoods.
Australian Food News also reported in November 2014 that the proposed acquisition of Australian food manufacturing company Goodman Fielder by Asian agribusiness company Wilmar and Hong Kong-based investment management and holding company First Pacific was progressing through various approvals processes. In August 2014, Australian Food News reported that yoghurt brand five:am had been acquired by international consumer products group PZ Cussons.
Meanwhile, in August 2014, Australian Food News reported that local and international interest in leading Australian FMCG company Menora Foods had received unsolicited approaches from third parties seeking to purchase the business, prompting the Company to undertake a strategic review.
Improvements ‘signs of resilience’
“While the improvement in manufacturing activity in November is slight, it and the lift in new orders are welcome signs of the resilience of the sector in the face of still-testing conditions,” said Innes Wilcox, Ai Group Chief Executive.
“The lower dollar, an easing in energy costs, moderate wages growth and relatively low interest rates are all helping to underpin the sector’s performance,” Mr Wilcox said. “Demand for locally made inputs and components flowing from stronger residential construction activity is also a positive for the sector,” he said.
“That said, respondents to the Australian PMI noted substantial headwinds with the steep decline in mining investment and the impending closure of Australian automotive assembly stifling business sentiment and the appetite for investment,” Mr Wilcox said. “Businesses also noted that the still-strong Australian dollar continues to support intense import competition,” he said.
Australian PMI stats
The Australian PMI increased by 0.7 points to 50.1 in November 2014, indicating the slightest of expansions across the manufacturing sector (readings above 50 indicate an expansion in activity, with the distance from 50 indicative of the strength of the increase).
Two of the five activity sub-indexes were above 50 points in November 2014, with new orders up 3.1 points to 54.3 and supplier deliveries climbing 7.2 points to 52.1. In contrast, the production, stocks and exports sub-indexes all declined below 50 points following very mild expansion in October 2014, while manufacturing employment and sales continued to contract.
Australian PMI: Key Findings for November
- The Australian PMI increased 0.7 points to 50.1 in November, indicating the slightest of expansions across the manufacturing sector this month.
- Four of the eight manufacturing sub-sectors expanded in November: food, beverages and tobacco (up 2.4 points to 59.1); wood & paper products (up 2.1 points to 61.6); textiles, clothing & furniture (up 7.3 points to 54.4); and non-metallic mineral products (up 5.0 points to 50.2).
- The machinery and equipment (up 0.8 points to 44.6); petroleum, coal, chemicals & rubber products (up 1.2 points to 39.9); printing and recorded media (up 5.0 points to 42.8) and metal products (down 1.8 points to 43.2) sub-sectors all continued to contract this month.
- Two of the five activity sub-indexes – new orders (up 3.1 points to 54.3) and supplier deliveries (up 7.2 points to 52.1) – were above 50 points in November, but the production (down 3.7 points to 47.4), stocks (down 5.0 points to 45.7), and exports (down 2.6 points to 48.1) sub-indexes all declined below 50 points.
- In the face of rising input costs (up 5.1 points to 70.5), selling prices contracted slightly (down 0.7 points to 49.0) in November, placing significant pressure on manufacturers’ margins. The wages sub-index declined a point to 53.3, while employment was broadly unchanged at 47.8 points.