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Australia manufacturing activity rebounds in August: surveys

[SYDNEY] Australian manufacturers reported that activity picked up in August after a soft July, with new orders and exports rebounding in a positive sign for employment and economic growth.

The Commonwealth Bank/Markit purchasing managers index firmed to 53.2 in August, from 52.4 in July, with sales and new orders both improving. A result above 50.0 represents expansion.

Another survey by the Australian Industry Group (AIG) found its main activity index rebounded by 4.7 points to 56.7 in August, led by a jump in export orders.

Both surveys showed some pickup in price pressures, partly because of higher oil and raw material costs. Drought conditions on the eastern coast of Australia were also having an impact.

"Food and beverage manufacturers are reporting disrupted supply and higher prices of raw agricultural inputs, while manufacturers operating in the metals and machinery and equipment sub-sectors who sell to the agricultural sector or its supply chain are reporting reduced sales," the AIG reported.