The Manufacturing Sector Purchasing Managers’ Index PMI computed by the Central Bank recorded 51.7 index points in January from 59.1 index points in December 2017.
This was mainly driven by the slowdown in the Production and New Orders in the manufacturing sector.
Further, the Employment sub-index also slowed down during the month as compared to December 2017 while Stock of Purchases sub index contracted during the month.
Services sector activities expanded in January 2018, albeit at a slower rate, mainly supported by New Businesses, Business Activity, Backlogs of Work and Expectations for Activity.
Employment declined in January 2018, partly causing Backlogs of Work to continue its expansion for the second consecutive month.
The passive expansion in New Businesses and Business Activity at the beginning of the year could be due to seasonality since the activity level is compared with a strong activity level in December 2017.
The increase in Business Activity was mainly observed in Financial Services sector due to expansion of service delivery channels.
Employment declined due to non-recruitment for vacancies of retired and resigned employees, mainly in Financial Services, Health Care and Real Estate Activities sectors.
Expected Labour Cost increased due to routine salary increments in 2018 including collective agreements.