Investec Purchasing Managers Index Sharply Lower

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By Andre Roux

After holding up at 54.3 in December, the seasonally adjusted Investec PMI declined 2.2 index points to 52.1 in January. Manufacturers’ short-term expectations were revised sharply lower over the month, consistent with the interruption in power supply, rising commodity prices and weaker domestic and global demand.

The seasonally adjusted business activity index increased to 55.7 in December, from November’s 53.7. However, this index plunged 5.2 index points during January, implying a significant slowdown in output growth. The seasonally adjusted new sales orders index declined to 51.5 in January from 54.8 in December. The current reading is at the lowest level since early 2006. The seasonally adjusted inventory index also reached its lowest reading in two years. Consistent with weaker overall demand, January saw a marked decline in purchasing managers’ purchasing commitments.

In contrast, the seasonally adjusted employment index remained firm. The price index ticked up further during January, after rising strongly during December.

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Source: Investec Asset Management, February 1, 2008.

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