Average PMI for September quarter lower than that for Q1
There’s little doubt that Thursday’s gross domestic product (GDP) data will show a bounce in growth, as the year-on-year growth will be higher than during the June quarter (Q1).
But take a look at the accompanying chart which shows the average Purchasing Managers’ indices (PMIs) for the September and June quarters. PMI is a seasonally adjusted survey-based diffusion index of private sector activity and respondents are asked whether business conditions are better than for the previous month. The chart shows that average PMI for the three months ended September is 48.7, lower than the average of 52.16 for the June quarter. Broken down to manufacturing and services, PMIs are again lower sequentially. As the adjoining chart shows, the average manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.1 for the September quarter from 51.66 in the previous quarter. That of services dropped to 48.03 from 51.83.
A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while one below 50 points means contraction.
True, GDP growth and PMIs are different measures. What the indices suggest is that conditions on the ground during the September quarter both in services and manufacturing were not very good. We’ll soon know whether the GDP data will show a very different picture.