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Singapore factory activity expands for fifth month in November but at a slower pace

Singapore factory activity expands for fifth month in November but at a slower pace

An employee makes a final check on a solar panel at a Singapore factory. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s factory activity in November expanded for the fifth consecutive month but at a slower rate than the previous month, as demand continued to improve amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 50.4 from 50.5 in October, according to data by the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) on Thursday (Dec 3).

A PMI reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding, while a figure below that threshold points to contraction. 

November’s reading was buoyed by marginally higher expansion rates in indexes of new orders and new exports, but was dragged down by lower expansion rates of inventory index and output index, said SIPMM.

The overall employment index also contracted at a faster rate, recording its 10th straight month of contraction.

READ: Non-PMETs hit harder by unemployment than PMETs during COVID-19 pandemic: Manpower Ministry

However, the supplier deliveries index expanded after contracting for nine consecutive months.

The finished goods index saw a slower rate of expansion, while the indexes of both imports and input prices posted faster rates of expansion.

The electronics sector PMI increased slightly from the previous month, inching 0.1 point to record 51.1 in November, its highest reading since September 2018 when it was 51.4. This is the fourth month of expansion for the electronics sector.

This was attributed to faster expansion rates for the indexes of new orders, new exports, factory output and employment, said SIPMM. The electronics employment index also reverted to a marginal expansion after its first recorded contraction in February.

All indicators recorded faster rates of expansion, with the exception of the indexes of electronics inventory and supplier deliveries.

“The latest PMI reading indicates the resilience of the overall manufacturing sector with expansion recorded for the fifth continuous month,” said Ms Sophia Poh, SIPMM’s vice president of industry engagement and development.

READ: Singapore revises growth outlook again as Q3 GDP shrinks at slower 5.8% amid COVID-19

Despite the five months of expansion, there is still concern over the impact of the coronavirus on global demand, said Ms Poh.

“Factory employment remains weak and manufacturers remain concerned about the impact on global demand arising from new waves of the global pandemic that could derail the manufacturing recovery,” she said.

Source: CNA/ga(ta)


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