India’s manufacturing sector activity fell to a five-month low in March indicating the slowest improvement in operating conditions since last October, according to a survey.
The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), released every month, fell from 52.1 in February to a five-month low of 51.0 in March.
The PMI fell as new business orders rose at a slower pace, and firms showed little appetite for recruitment.
This is the eighth consecutive month that the index remained above the 50-point-mark. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
“India’s manufacturing sector continued to grow, albeit at the weakest pace since October, reflecting weaker gains in new business and a decline in employment for the first time in eight months,” said Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report.
Dodhia noted that the impact of US tariffs on steel and aluminium on India is expected to be limited, as India’s exports in both metals to the US accounted for less than 0.4 per cent of total merchandise exports.
Though new export orders rose during March, Dodhia said, “On a negative note, further advances in trade disputes could potentially weigh on sales to international clients.”