Higher Aussie manufacturing

SYDNEY: Australian manufacturing activity improved in March and was consistent with non-farm gross domestic product (GDP) growth of around 3.5%, a survey found yesterday. 

The Australian Industry Group/PricewaterhouseCoopers Australian performance of manufacturing index (PMI) was up 4.6 points to 55.6 in March. 

A reading above 50 points indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding. 

AI Group chief executive Heather Ridout said the improvement in March reflected a long pipeline of new orders growth from late 2003, the replenishment of stocks that had fallen to meet demand, and the lower exchange rate relative to the US dollar over the month. 

“Domestic demand again underpinned growth in the month. Despite a fall in the Aussie by around five cents against the US dollar from a spike of 80 cents, the stronger currency remains problematic and continues to put pressure on production levels, export growth and profit margins,” she said. – Reuters

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