By Jamie McGeever
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Growth in Brazil’s manufacturing sector slowed in March to its slowest rate since June last year, a survey of purchasing managers showed on Monday, and prices charged to customers rose to close to their recent all-time highs.
While a brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit overall activity, employment increased and businesses were more optimistic about future conditions, the latest report from the IHS Markit Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) showed.
The overall PMI fell to 52.3 in April from 52.8 in March, the lowest since June. A reading above 50 marks expansion, while a reading below means contraction.
“Survey participants see a light at the end of the tunnel, and many hope that greater availability of vaccines will help slow the spread of the disease and (lift) restrictions. Business confidence improved (…) supporting the creation of new jobs, “said Pollyanna de Lima, associate director of economics at IHS Markit.
“Inflation continued to rise, and producers of goods raised their rates to the third highest rate in the survey’s more than 15-year history,” he said, citing a global shortage of raw materials.
The IHS Markit employment index rose again above the 50.0 threshold, to 51.8 from 48.5, while the future production index rose.
(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Edited in Spanish by Gabriela Donoso)