It’s a good month to be reading about the PMI, albeit many other signals may not correlate. Especially after the latest RBA announcement.
Australian Manufacturing PMI Stalls in January
The latest Manufacturing PMI from Judo Bank Australia showed a slight decrease to 50 in January 2023, from the previous month’s revised reading of 50.2. This was revised higher from the initial estimate of 49.8. The decrease in demand for manufactured goods, combined with lower domestic and global new orders, caused a decrease in buying activities and a continued decline in output. Selling price inflation also eased due to the weakened demand conditions. Despite the decrease in the PMI, business confidence rose to a five-month high, as firms remained optimistic that output would continue to expand in the upcoming year. Employment levels also rose at an above-average rate as firms continued to expand their workforce capacity.
New Zealand PMI
In January 2023, the BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index in New Zealand increased to 50.8, an upward revision from 47.8 in the previous month. This marked the first growth in manufacturing activity since September 2022. Production hit its highest record since August 2022, reaching 52.1 compared to 49.7 in December. New orders, however, remained in contraction for the fifth consecutive month, at 48.8 compared to 46.1. Employment, on the other hand, picked up after three consecutive months of contraction, reaching 51 compared to 48.8. Finished stocks also remained in positive territory, at 52.6 compared to 50.1.
For us at Headland, I’m delighted to announce the arrival of Michael Clayton to the service department in Melb, Craig Greenaway to the CNC division in the Southern Region, Brad Abraham to the role of GM for NZ and Joe Tippel into the Adelaide Branch.
December and January have been extremely busy months with many installations underway across Australia and NZ, and we’ve had our fair share of challenges with global supply chain but thankfully projects are completing successfully, albeit delayed in some cases. This is still mainly due to shortage of critical semiconductor parts. However, shipping in general has improved in both reliability and cost, as long as we can get equipment out of the factory and literally on-board a vessel. Port specific bottlenecks appear to be easing considerably and workforce availability in the transportation industry has improved significantly.
In business terms, we are seeing a slow-down in approvals for finance but overall demand for modernisation solutions is still strong.
As for our portfolio, I’m also delighted to advise that Citizen, Hyundai and Netstal have all become part of the Headland solutions portfolio, with a new business division in “Plastics” expanding Headland’s support for AU/NZ manufacturing well beyond the traditional steel processing markets. As is always our policy, we only commence to offer solutions when we have service capability ready to support our clients and I’m pleased to advise we have 3 very talented deeply specialised technicians in the Plastics division, ahead of hiring a sales lead for that division.. so, Service first every time !
Another exciting observation relates to a growing trend of steel service centres adopting large format “Laser” capability to supplement their plasma cutting operations and, in this space, Headland has an excellent offering with Tecoi. A world leader in plate processing for many industries.
Finally, we are very pleased to see an increase in focus on local e-mobility and renewable energy manufacturing, including but not limited to battery manufacturing. Our advanced manufacturing division with the TRUMPF LT range of foil cutting and laser welding solutions is passionately focused on this emerging new industry in Australia.
In March Richard Kloe and myself will be visiting with our OEM partners in Switzerland, Spain and Germany to gain a first-hand understanding of the innovations and solutions we can expect in the coming 1-2 years and the global trends influencing manufacturing overall. I’ll be eager to ensure the needs our local clients are considered in the R&D plans of our global OEM partners and I look forward to sharing many of the learnings upon my return.