PH tops ASEAN manufacturing PMI

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President Duterte tours the Solar Philippines Factory in Batangas in this Aug. 23, 2017 file photo. HANDOUT PHOTO

MANILA – The Philippines has topped anew other countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the manufacturing purchasing manager’s index (PMI) in December 2017.

IHS Markit’s ASEAN Manufacturing PMI for December 2017 showed the region scored 49.9 last month, led by the Philippines, which posted an index of 54.2.

Despite a decline from its score of 54.8 in November, the country’s production index signaled a “solid increase”, IHS Markit noted.

Following the Philippines were Vietnam, with a score of 52.5, Myanmar (51.1), and Thailand (50.4).

The manufacturing PMI of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore were below the 50-level.

Indices above 50 signal an improvement in business conditions while readings below 50 show deterioration.

“The ASEAN manufacturing economy finished the year on a subdued note as business conditions were broadly stagnant in December,” IHS Markit Principal Economist Bernard Aw said.

“Other survey indicators suggest that the ASEAN manufacturing sector is likely to have a disappointing start to 2018.
Firms scaled down buying activity, and continued to cut back on their inventory levels,” Aw added.

On the other hand, Aw noted that business confidence in the region for the next 12 months has improved, with Future Output Index recording its highest level last month since March 2017.

For the Philippines, IHS Markit’s report showed that businesses were more optimistic for the next 12 months, with confidence index registering its four-month high in December last year.