Factory activity in ASEAN ends two-month contraction in November
Filipino manufacturers outperformed last month.
Southeast Asia’s manufacturing sector stabilised in November for the first time in three months as output picked up despite sluggish demand from abroad, according to the latest survey by S&P Global.
The headline ASEAN manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 50 last month from 49.6 in October, indicating steady operating conditions across the region. Last month’s print also ended two straight months of contraction.
Three of the seven nations surveyed recorded improvements last month, led by the Philippines whose manufacturing sector jumped to a nine-month high of 52.7.
The health of the manufacturing sectors in Indonesia and Singapore also expanded last month at the same modest rate of 51.7. Factory activity in Myanmar (48.1), Malaysia (47.9), and Thailand (47.6) all worsened last month while Vietnam was the laggard at 47.3.
For the entire region, factories raised their output to its highest level in three months as companies worked through outstanding orders piled up in the first half of the year, despite muted demand.
Total factory others continued to dip for the third month running, with new orders from overseas declining once again.
Lower new orders, meanwhile, helped companies to catch up with their backlogs without cutting their staff numbers. Factories continued to grapple with high input prices that rose at its fastest pace since April, resulting in a slight increase in output charges.
For the next 12 months, ASEAN manufacturers remained optimistic overall although the sluggish demand has tempered their expectations.
“If customer demand continues to wane, it will be detrimental to ASEAN manufacturing sector performance in the months ahead,” said Maryam Baluch, economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.