The market mood remained tense due to the recent series of soft data points from the United States, causing futures markets to remains in the red this morning.
However, China released some positive data which could provide some optimism that the world’s second largest economy is starting to rebound.
The Caixin China General Services PMI increased to 57.8 in March 2023 from 55.0 in February, pointing to the fastest pace of expansion in activity since last November 2020, boosted by a sharp rise in new orders and employment, following the recent easing of COVID-19 measures.
New orders rose at the fastest pace in 28 months, with new export business expanding at the quickest rate since the series began in September 2014. Employment increased at the fastest since November 2020, while the rate of accumulation accelerated on the month but was mild overall.
On the price front, input cost inflation accelerated to a seven-month high, due to higher wage costs and raw material prices. Meanwhile, output cost inflation rose marginally as limited firms’ abilities to pass on higher cost burdens to clients. Finally, business sentiment deteriorated to a three-month low.
Exports of goods and services from Australia fell 2.9% mom to a six-month low of AUD 57.04 billion in February 2023, as foreign demand deteriorated amid persistent cost pressures and higher borrowing costs.
Sales of non-rural goods shrank by 4.0% to AUD 40.81 billion, mainly dragged down by demand for metal ores & minerals (-9.5%), other mineral fuels (-3.0%), transport equipment (-3.0%), and other non-rural (-2.0%); while those of non-monetary gold fell 9.6% to AUD 2.16 billion.
Meanwhile, sales of rural goods climbed by 3.4 percent to AUD 6.15 billion due to meat, cereal preparations (3.7%), cereal grains and cereal preparations (3.0%), and other rural goods (5.4%). Also, sales of services increased by 0.5% to AUD 7.94 billion due to travel (0.2%) and other services (0.4%)
Imports of goods and services to Australia dropped 9.1% mom to a ten-month low of AUD 43.17 billion in February 2023, due to weakening domestic demand amid rising inflation. Purchases of consumption goods plunged 19.3% to AUD 10.11 billion, dragged by food and beverages.
At the same, arrivals of capital goods slumped 14.6% to AUD 8.36 billion, due to industrial transport equipment n.e.s. (-38.6%), machinery and industrial equipment (-3.2%), and capital goods n.e.s (-10.8%).