Manufacturing PMI slide into recession territory

The much-awaited Purchasers Managers Index (PMI) was released on May 29th by the Central Bank of Nigeria. According to the latest data, Manufacturing PMI in the month of May stood at 42.4 index points, indicating contraction in the manufacturing sector for the first time after recording expansion for thirty-six consecutive months.

The figure compares to 51.1 and 49.2 index points in March 2020.

The latest number now falls squarely within recession numbers and this is a clear sign that Nigeria is closer to recording a major contraction in the second quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, the nation’s PMI’s number hit a year low in April 2016 of 43.7, before plummeting further to 41.9 in June 2016. Nigeria subsequently fell into a recession by the end of the second quarter of 2016 and remained in recession throughout the course of the year.

The nation’s non-manufacturing PMI fell for a consecutive month to an all-time low of 25.3. The decline in manufacturing PMI was significant following thirty-six consecutive months of expansion, while the non-Manufacturing PMI contracted for the second consecutive month.

A further look into the report shows that the manufacturing sector employment level index stood at 24.5 points in May, a decline compared to 47.1 points recorded in March and 56.4 points in February 2020.

This downturn is mostly attributed to the halt in economic activity as businesses in Nigeria result in layoffs and pay cuts in order to survive the effect of the lockdown.

Also, all 14 subsectors of the manufacturing sector, reported lower raw material inventories, consequently contracting the inventories index to 37.4 points in May 2020. An effect of the supply chain bottleneck associated with the lockdown measures implemented in most countries of the world.

Specifically, this figure translates the effect of lockdown procedures and trade restrictions implemented by Nigeria’s major trade partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Note that Nigeria’s major trade partners; China, USA, Spain, and the Netherlands account for about 45% of the nation’s import.

What you need to know:  PMI is a survey that is conducted by the Statistics Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The respondents are purchasing and supply executives of manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations in all 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In his reaction to the data, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in the Monetary Policy Communique, highlighted how dire the situation.

He said, “The contraction in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs was attributed to slower growth in production, new orders, employment level, raw materials, and input prices.

“The employment level index for the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs also contracted further to 25.5 and 32.0 index points, respectively, in May 2020 compared with 47.1 and 47.3 index points in March 2020.

“Generally, the purchasing managers’ activities in May 2020, were largely affected by the lockdown of the global economy to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The CBN thereafter reduced its monetary policy rate from 13.5% to 12.5% for the first time since March 2019.

What this means: This survey is a bellwether for economic growth in Nigeria and helps the central bank gauge the mood of businesses in the economy.

PMI above 50 typically indicates a positive mood for the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. Two major causes for concern in the data are the new orders and employment levels.

At 42.8 points, the new orders index declined after thirty-sixth consecutive months of growth, indicating declines in new orders in May 2020. Three subsectors reported growth, 2 remained unchanged while 9 recorded declines in the review month.

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