MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian manufacturing growth eased in December to the third-highest rate in 2018, although output and new business remained strong, the Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed on Friday.
The main PMI index declined to 51.7 from 52.6 in November, remaining above the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction for the third month in a row.
Inflationary pressure in the sector softened despite an expected increase in value-added tax next year to 20 percent from 18 percent.
Panelists attributed a slower rise in output prices to higher competition, while the rate of input prices slowed to a nine-month low.
The mood among manufacturing companies remained upbeat, and output expectations in the sector were at their second-highest since May 2013 thanks to client demand.
“Robust optimism stemmed from greater access to new foreign markets and a sustained rise in new business, which manufacturers expect to see continuing through 2019,” said Sian Jones, an economist at IHS Markit that compiles the survey.
Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh