Brazil manufacturing sector extends meager growth in Feb -PMI
* HSBC Brazil Manufacturing PMI falls to 50.4 from 50.8
* New orders cool; input and output price increases quicken
By Asher Levine
SAO PAULO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's manufacturing activity expanded for the third straight month in February, though at a very timid pace as growth in new orders cooled, a private survey showed on Friday.
The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for the Brazilian manufacturing sector fell to a seasonally adjusted 50.4 in February from 50.8 in January. The 50 mark separates contraction from expansion.
The new orders index fell to 50.9 from an 11-month high of 52.4 in the previous month, with those surveyed citing tougher economic conditions and sharper competition despite sustained demand.
Output expanded for the sixth straight month, the survey showed, though improving only slightly from January. Consumer goods posted a deterioration in output, while intermediate goods rose and capital goods stagnated.
High labor costs, poor infrastructure and a hefty tax burden still weigh heavily on Brazil's manufacturers, whose lackluster performance has weighed on the nation's economic growth.
Data on Thursday showed industry shrank 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, dragged down by a 0.9 percent fall in manufacturing. Continuación...