Supply Chain Matters provides readers a further installment in our global supply chain assessment series in providing highlights on reported April 2024 global PMI activity levels.

 

Decline in Global Manufacturing Output Levels

Global-wide manufacturing levels as depicted in the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI® declined in April.

The April reading of 50.3 was a 0.3 percentage point decline from the Q1 March quarter ending reading of 50.6, which was a 20-month high. Report authors noted that this global wide index has been above the 50.0 expansionary rate for three consecutive months.

The April report was headlined with global output rises in consumer and intermediate goods. Input cost and output price inflation reportedly accelerated.

Production output levels and new order rates expanded in the latest month while stocks of purchases and supplier lead times were reflective of contractionary indicators.

Commenting on the April data, Bennett Parrish, Global Economist at J.P. Morgan indicated in-part: “Although the latest reading took a step back, the survey remains on an upward trend consistent with a rebound in global manufacturing gathering pace. While a tick down in the new orders index is slightly concerning, the employment index showed stability in April. At the regional level, improvements across Europe and in Asia continue to close some of the gap.”

Brazil, China, India, and the United States indices remained at expansionary levels. Europe remained weak with eight nations in continued production contraction.

The April report further indicated that global wide manufacturers are still maintaining an overall outlook that production levels will be higher in the coming 12 months.

 

Regional Highlights

United States

Among major regions, the two followed indices of U.S. production activity, the ISM Report on Business Manufacturing PMI, and the S&P Global U.S. Manufacturing PMI both reported declines in April.

The former’s April reading was 49.2, a decline of 1.1 percentage points from the 50.3 reading for March. Report author Anthony Fiore indicated in-part: “Demand remains at the early stages of recovery, with continuing signs of improving conditions. Production execution continued to expand in March, but at a slower rate of growth than in prior months. Suppliers continue to have capacity but work to improve lead times, due to their raw material supply chain disruptions.”

Regarding the latter, the S&P U.S. index declined to a value of 50 from the 51.9 reported for March.

India

The HSBC India Manufacturing PMI which led all regional reporting in March slipped 0.3 percentage points to 58.8 in April. The April report was headlined with India’s manufacturers increasing input inventories to near record pace to prepare for increased output. Specifically noted: “Firms experienced a sharp upturn in new business intakes and scaled up production accordingly. With sales expected to remain positive, buying levels were raised and input stocks lifted to one of the greatest extents seen in over 19 years of data collection.

China

China’s official PMI compiled by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics was reported as 50.4 for April, compared to 50.8 reported for March. Commentary related to April activity pointed to increases in new export orders and production rates. Regarding the latter, production was noted as rising to its highest levels since April 2023.

Related reporting from Bloomberg indicated that China’s policymakers are looking to the country’s manufacturing sector to offset existing declines in the country’s consumer and real estate markets. That in-turn has raised perceptions that China is leveraging its excess capacity to flood export market sectors.

The Caixen China Manufacturing PMI, reflective of private and mid-market industries reported an April PMI reading of 51.4, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the 51.1 reported for March.

Other Asian Nations

The S&P Global ASEAN Manufacturing PMI is a compilation of seven ASEAN nations- Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. These nations account for 98 percent of ASEAN manufacturing value added. The April index was reported fifty-one, compared to March’s value of 51.5. The report commentary pointed to expansions in new orders and production output. However, output was noted as being driven primarily by domestic consumer demand.

 

Added Insights and Perspectives

As noted in our perspectives related to the reported March PMI data, it is important for industry supply chain strategists, strategic direct materials sourcing, and planners to understand these sourcing shifts and what they may imply in shorter- or longer-term windows.

What remains evident from our supply chain research perspective is that motivations for lowest cost sourcing remain an influence in global production activity levels in addition to added supply network resiliency.

With the April data, concerns have been added among global policymakers as to China’s new shift toward exporting excess production capacity into global markets not only for Russia and Europe, but other regions.

 

Bob Ferrari

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