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Australia Private Sector Returns To Growth In September

Australia's private sector recovered at the end of the third quarter after the coronavirus containment measures were loosened in parts of the country, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.

The flash composite output index rose to 50.5 in September from 49.4 in August. A score above 50 indicates expansion.

The recovery in overall activity was driven by further manufacturing production growth as services business activity was unchanged from August.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a 29-month high of 55.5 in September from 53.6 in August.

At the same time, the services PMI came in at neutral 50.0 versus 49.0 in August.

The rise in private sector activity was accompanied by renewed sales growth. New order inflows increased in September after a solid contraction in August.

Employment declined sharply in September as firms sought to control costs. Cuts to workforce numbers were limited to the service sector, while manufacturers added more workers in September.

The picture for prices was mixed in September. Input prices rose again, with inflation underpinned by greater costs for raw materials, increased transportation fees and higher wages. On the other hand, output prices decreased slightly.

Finally, sentiment regarding the year ahead improved to the strongest for just over two years. Optimism was seen across both sectors, with service providers particularly upbeat about prospects.

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