Manufacturing activity in Australia fell again in January, despite hopes that the falling dollar and low interest rates would help the sector recover, a new survey has found.
AAP reports that the Australian Industry Group's (Ai Group) performance of manufacturing index (PMI) fell for the third consecutive month. The January PMI was 46.7, a drop of 0.9 from the previous month’s figure of 47.6.
Values above 50 represent expansion in the sector and values under 50 represent contraction.
Seasonally adjusted, the figures remained in negative territory across all the major activity sub-indexes.
There were some improvements in new orders and employment which are decreasing at a slower rate compared with December, at -48.8 and 48.3 respectively.
In addition, four sub-sectors recorded growth. Food, beverages and tobacco came in at 54.0; wood and paper products recorded 61.9; petroleum, coal, chemical and rubber products recorded 52.7; and non-metallic mineral products recorded 57.6.
Commenting on the results, Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said, "2014 looks to be another challenging year for many Australian manufacturers, although a handful of areas are showing some positive signs of growth.
"Comments from manufacturers indicate that a lower Australian dollar has started to benefit some manufacturing businesses but exports remain fragile.
"But our other large manufacturing sectors continue to struggle, despite the lower dollar and low interest rates."