Business activity expanded in March according to the latest unadjusted Ivey PMI survey. At 56.0 the headline index was up a sizeable 5.2 points versus its mid-quarter reading and at its highest level in half a year. However, seasonally adjusted the index fell from February's 49.7 to 47.9, its second weakest post since June last year and its third consecutive print below the 50 growth threshold.
Within the adjusted results the employment sub-index dropped a further 2.2 points to a lowly 45.1, potentially (but certainly not necessarily) signalling a weak labour force survey on Friday. The rest of the findings included a in slowdown in delivery times (45.0 after 47.3) and a probably unwelcome jump in business inventories (57.9 after 47.4). Prices (59.5 after 63.2) continued to rise but at a slightly reduced pace versus the previous period.
The March results are likely not soft enough to impact expectations for no change in key interest rates at the BoC's 15th April meeting but may well prompt some downward revisions to forecasts for March employment growth.
The Ivey Purchasing Managers Index measures month to month changes in dollars of purchases as indicated by a panel of purchasing managers from across Canada. The 175 participants in this survey have been carefully selected geographically and by sector of activity to match the Canadian economy as a whole. The index includes both the public and private sectors. Index panel members indicate whether their organizations activity is higher than the same as or lower than the previous month across the following five categories - purchases, employment, inventories, supplier deliveries and prices. The Ivey Purchasing Managers Index is sponsored by the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada.
The Ivey PMI is provided in two formats -- unadjusted and seasonally adjusted. The index shows responses to one question: "Were your purchases last month in dollars higher, the same, or lower than the previous month?" A figure above 50 shows an increase while below 50 shows a decrease.
The index measures the month to month variation in economic activity as indicated by a panel of purchasing managers. The index uses end of the month data and it covers all sections of Canada's economy. The PMI includes both the public and private sectors and is based on month end data Ivey PMI panel members indicate whether their organizations activity is higher than, the same as, or lower than the previous month across the following five categories: purchases, employment, inventories, supplier deliveries and prices.
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