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India's Manufacturing Activity Gauge Slows in August -- Markit

09/01/2015 | 02:00am US/Eastern
   By Anant Vijay Kala 
 

NEW DELHI--A gauge of manufacturing activity in India came off a six-month high in August as growth in new orders slowed.

The seasonally adjusted India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, prepared by Markit, fell to 52.3 from 52.7 in July, which was the highest since January, according to Nikkei research released Tuesday. A figure above 50 indicates expansion while a reading below that signals contraction.

"Growth of Indian manufacturing production waned in August on the back of softer improvements in both domestic and foreign demand," Pollyanna De Lima, an economist at Markit, said. "This led firms to keep payroll numbers unchanged during month."

While activity slowed in August, the survey showed manufacturers ramped up purchases, indicating that output growth will rebound in the coming months.

The data comes a day after India's government reported gross domestic product growth slowed to 7% year-over-year last quarter from 7.5% in the preceding quarter.

The latest survey findings would add to concerns that a recovery in the south Asian economy still is patchy and strengthen calls from industry lobby groups for the central bank to cut interest rates at its monetary policy review later this month.

"As inflation concerns fade and demand growth loses momentum, further accommodative policy should not be discounted," Ms. De Lima said.

At its most recent policy review last month, the Reserve Bank of India left interest rates unchanged as it waited for greater certainty that inflation was trending down and for banks to pass on the benefits of its three cuts so far this year to consumers.

The reading was released as the HSBC India Manufacturing PMI until June 2015, when HSBC and Markit Economics ended their tie-up. Markit said on June 29 that Nikkei would assume sponsorship of the Indian survey and nine others.

Write to Anant Vijay Kala at anant.kala@wsj.com

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