The S&P Global India Manufacturing PMI surged to a 31-month high of 58.7 in May. Image for representation purpose only. File
| Photo Credit: Reuters
The S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) surged to a 31-month high of 58.7 in May, with factory orders rising at the fastest clip since January 2021 and producers accumulating inputs at an unprecedented pace thanks to lower costs.
A reading of 50 on the index, which stood at 57.2 in April, indicates no change in activity levels. The latest reading reflects a substantial improvement in operating conditions with order books growing for the 23rd consecutive month, bolstered further by export deals clocking the swiftest rise in six months.
While the overall improvement in the health of the sector was the strongest since October 2020, output levels were the highest in 28 months and the pressure on capacities compelled firms to rev up fresh hiring to a six-month high.
While input costs “remained historically mild”, S&P Global said its survey of about 400 firms that forms the basis of the index, showed that producers raised selling prices at “a solid and quicker rate in May” that was the highest in a year. “According to [survey] panellists, sustained increases in input costs and a supportive demand environment led them to lift their charges,” the firm said.
Overall business confidence levels about growth prospects continued to improve after hitting an eight-month low in March, to hit a five-month high in May, with firms ascribing their upbeat mood to publicity and demand resilience.
Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at S&P Global Market Intelligence said the soaring sales captured in the PMI showcased robust demand for Indian goods at home and overseas, which also generated more employment opportunities in May. Ms. De Lima, however, added a word of caution about purchasing power depleting due to inflation.
“While improvements in supply chains and generally subdued global demand for inputs helped curb input price inflation in May, heightened demand and previously absorbed cost burdens translated into a stronger upward revision to selling charges. Demand-driven inflation is not inherently negative, but could erode purchasing power, create challenges for the economy and open the door for more interest rate hikes,” she pointed out.
The record increase in input stocks shows firms are geared up better for managing supply chains. This, Ms. De Lima noted, should allow firms to mitigate potential disruptions, maintain a steady flow of production and demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges.