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[SYDNEY] A measure of Australian manufacturing activity rose in January as a falling currency boosted exports while building suppliers benefited from a strong housing market.
The Australian Industry Group's performance of manufacturing index (PMI) rose 2.1 points to 49.0 in January, just below the 50 level that is supposed to mark the threshold between contraction and expansion.
The index for exports climbed 3 points to 54.0, while new orders rose 3.9 points to 47.6 and production 2.7 points to 48.6. However, the survey's measure of employment took a 5-point dive to 47.5 in the month, while wages growth remained subdued.
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.