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Australia manufacturing index dips in Sept: AIG

[SYDNEY] A measure of Australian manufacturing activity edged lower in September as firms continued to complain of intense foreign competition and a still high local dollar, though there was some improvement in the employment situation.

The Australian Industry Group's performance of manufacturing index (PMI) fell 0.8 points to 46.5 in September, under the 50 level that is supposed to mark the threshold between contraction and expansion. "Respondents indicated that despite a welcome depreciation in the Australian dollar since early September, it remains high and continues to support intense import competition and weigh heavily on exports," said AIG.

The local dollar slid over 6 per cent in September against its US counterpart and was last at US$0.8746.

The survey showed sharp falls for sales, new orders and exports in September, though the employment index did nudge up to near break even at 49.0.

The survey has been persistently weaker than official measures of manufacturing, implying the sector has been deep in recession for almost all of the past five years. - Reuters