MOSCOW, July 1 (Reuters) - Russian manufacturing activity shrank in June but at its slowest rate for 13 months, as many factories reopened and firms showed signs of bouncing back from the havoc wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for factory activity rose to 49.4 in June from 36.2 in May, remaining below the 50.0 mark dividing expansion from contraction but well above April’s record low of 31.3.
Output increased for the first time since May 2019, with some firms citing the return of factories and consumers after the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, and others attributing the growth to the fulfilment of orders made before the pandemic hit.
Business confidence turned positive, reaching a five-month high of 64.5 as it rebounded from falling into contraction for the first time last month, with firms linking that optimism to the resumption of production and interest from clients.
“Manufacturers showed renewed optimism towards the outlook for output over the coming year amid hopes that the worst is now behind them,” said Sian Jones, an economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
“Nonetheless, our current forecast signals a 7% decline in Russian industrial production on the year is expected in 2020 as challenging external demand conditions are set to weigh further on new orders.”
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Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Catherine Evans