ASEAN manufacturing rises to seventh-month high in April
Thailand’s PMI outperformed its neighbors by a huge margin last month.
Overall factory activity across seven Southeast Asian nations picked up and hit a seven-month high in April on the back of strong new orders and output, latest data from S&P Global showed.
S&P Global’s ASEAN manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) went up to 52.7 last month from a 51 reading in March, signaling “solid improvement” in the region's manufacturing conditions thanks to faster increases in output and new orders. The headline figure was the highest since last September.
The regional PMI covers Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. A reading above the 50 neutral threshold indicates improvement from the month prior while below the 50 mark signals contraction.
“Companies reported further gains in new business, which in turn drove the strongest increase in production levels since October 2021,” Maryam Baluch, economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said in a report.
Results of the survey revealed strong sales and rising output last month have pushed manufacturers to ramp up their purchasing activity and build their inventories. Price pressures also eased last month, with companies reporting that their operating expenses went up at their softest pace in more than two years.
Thailand was the best performing market with a record high PMI of 60.4 last month, up from 53.1 in March. Myanmar saw the second highest improvement at 57.4 in April, another record high for the country, followed by Indonesia with a 52.7 reading.
Singapore also recorded improved manufacturing conditions in April that snapped two months of contraction (PMI at 51.9) while the Philippines’ index of 51.4 was its weakest in eight months.
Factory activity in Malaysia and Vietnam both deteriorated with their PMIs settling at 48.8 and 46.7, respectively.
“Looking ahead, manufacturers across the region are largely upbeat, with the degree of optimism hitting a six month high in April. Manufacturers remain hopeful for further improvements in global economic conditions,” Baluch added.