SYDNEY — Australian business output contracted for the fourth month in a row in January as the impact of the sharp rise in interest rates since May dampened confidence in the broader economy.
The Judo Bank Flash Australian Composite PMI output index rose to 48.2 in January from 47.5 in December. Private sector output continues to contract, but the pace of the setback was his slowest in three months.
The data showed that the decline in output was led by softening service activity and lower manufacturing output. New orders increased for the first time since September 2022, according to Judo Bank.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to raise rates for the ninth time in a row in February to ease the worst inflationary pressures since the 1980s.
Firms hired at a solid rate in January despite contracting output. Manufacturers and service providers have ramped up their workforce to address the labor shortage.
The Flash Australia Services PMI business activity index rose to 48.3 in January from 47.3 in December, hitting a three-month high, according to Judo Bank.
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