Austria Manufacturing Growth At 16-Month Low

Austria's manufacturing activity expanded at the slowest pace in sixteen months in May as new orders contracted sharply amid rising price pressures, survey data from S&P Global showed on Friday.

The UniCredit Bank Austria manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to a 16-month low of 56.6 in May from 57.9 in April. However, any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

New orders declined at the fastest pace in almost two years in May, linked to rising prices and client hesitancy due to economic uncertainty.

Despite this, manufacturers were able to produce output at a slightly faster rate than the five-month low seen in the prior month. The rise in production was underpinned by improved production capabilities and backlogs of work only grew at the slowest pace since November 2020.

The increase in purchasing activity was the weakest in sixteen months as firms faced delays in receipts of inputs due to the disruption caused by pandemic-related lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine, and the ongoing challenges with material and transport availability in general.

Input price inflation remained among the quickest on record despite easing from April on higher energy and transport costs. This forced manufacturers to pass their cost burden to clients by rising output prices at the quickest pace in the series history.

Goods producers continue to add workforce numbers in May, though the rate of job creation was the weakest since February 2021.

Looking ahead, expectations towards future output were the lowest since the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as sharp inflationary pressures, the uncertainty connected with the war in Ukraine and continued supply chain disruption weighed on business confidence.

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