New Delhi [India]: Economic growth in the Indian manufacturing industry during October remained robust, and price pressures were contained as data showed expansions in factory orders and quantities of purchases, while production growth outpaced its long-run average despite softening to a four-month low, a monthly study of industry activities said on Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was up from 55.1 in September to 55.3 in October, above its long-run average (53.7) and indicating a stronger improvement in the health of the sector.
The monthly study said firms were again able to secure additional work in October, taking the current sequence of growth to 16 months.
Overall, factory orders increased at an above-trend pace that was nonetheless the weakest since June.
New export orders also rose markedly, with the pace of expansion ticking higher.
Indian manufacturing companies bought additional inputs in October amid efforts to rebuild stocks and fulfil greater sales, according to the study. Overall, input-buying rose solidly, but at the slowest pace in 14 months.
Price pressures were little-changed from September, the monthly study said, adding that, “The overall rate of cost inflation was the second-weakest for two years, ahead of that registered in the prior survey period. In turn, manufacturers limited hikes to output prices. The rate of charge inflation eased to the weakest since February.”
It said inventory trends diverged noticeably in October.
Holdings of finished products fell at a solid rate that was nevertheless slower than in September, while pre-production stocks increased markedly, it said.
The monthly study also said the rate of accumulation picked up to the fastest since July. There were signs of substantial capacity pressures at Indian goods producers, as outstanding business volumes rose to the greatest extent in almost two years. Some firms responded to this by hiring extra workers, it indicated.
Manufacturing employment increased at a marked rate that was one of the strongest since data collection started in March 2005, the study said, adding that, “On the supply-side of the manufacturing industry, the latest results showed a modest increase in input lead times which were nevertheless weaker than those recorded during the first Covid-19 lockdown.”
Looking ahead, Indian manufacturers remained confident of a rise in production volumes by October 2023, according to S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index.
Predictions of better sales and marketing efforts were among the reasons cited for upbeat projections, the monthly study said, adding that the overall level of sentiment fell to a three-month low, though remained elevated by historical standards.
It said granular data indicated that consumer goods was the brightest area of the manufacturing sector in October.
Firms in this segment signalled the fastest increases in output, overall sales and exports.
All of these measures grew at slower rates in the other two monitored categories.
Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: “The Indian manufacturing industry again showed signs of resilience in October, with factory orders and production rising strongly despite losing growth momentum.
Lima added, “Manufacturers continued to loosen the purse strings as they expect demand buoyancy to be sustained in coming months. There was a marked rise in input purchasing, with firms adding to their inventories to better align with client purchasing.”