The Courier-Mail

EXPORTS GROW AS DOLLAR FALLS

- JASON CADDEN

THERE are green shoots of recovery in the manufactur­ing sector as the lower Australian dollar boosts exports.

The latest industry figures indicate manufactur­ing activity has risen for the first time in six months.

Australian Industry Group’s Performanc­e of Manufactur­ing Index (PMI), released yesterday, rose 4.3 points to 52.3 in May, with the result indicating an expansion in manufactur­ing activity.

AiG chief executive Innes Willox said the fall of the Australian dollar (which is down 30 per cent from its US110¢ peak) had helped exporters recover some lost ground.

“This was a clear positive for performanc­e in May, together with strong residentia­l constructi­on activity and very low interest rates, and helped propel the sector into expansiona­ry territory for the first time in six months,” Mr Willox said. “There remains a fine balance, however, and the rapid decline in mining constructi­on, the progressiv­e closure of automotive assembly and subdued local business investment in machinery and equipment continues to weigh on local demand.”

Boat builder John Haines is upbeat about future prospects for manufactur­ers after a tough couple of years.

“It is probably the best it has been since before the Global Financial Crisis,” said Haines, chief executive of Wacol-based Haines Group. “It is still difficult but there has been an improvemen­t.”

The Aussie dollar’s slide had helped because Haines’ main competitio­n came from cheaper US products.

“The dealers are really starting to focus on us now with the (Aussie) dollar making our boats more competitiv­e,” Mr Haines said.

The picture is less rosy for the broader economy.

Economists expect Australia’s gross domestic product, released tomorrow, to have slowed to 1.9 per cent in the March quarter, down from 2.5 per cent in the previous three months.

ANZ co-head of Austra- lian economics Felicity Emmett said housing remained the only sector to have responded in a typical cyclical fashion to low interest rates.

“Consumer spending growth remains moderate at best, weighed down by soft income growth and ongoing fragile household confidence,” she said. The latest business investment figures showed non-mining companies planned to reduce their spending over the next financial year. The Australian dollar was trading at US76.51¢ late yesterday. WITH GLEN NORRIS

IT IS PROBABLY THE BEST IT HAS BEEN SINCE BEFORE THE GFC John Haines

 ??  ?? UPBEAT FUTURE: It has been a tough couple of years but boat builder John Haines says there has been improvemen­t in his industry.
UPBEAT FUTURE: It has been a tough couple of years but boat builder John Haines says there has been improvemen­t in his industry.
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