Factory activity slides for 10th straight month in April

Factory activity shrank for the 10th straight month in April but at a slower pace.
Factory activity shrank for the 10th straight month in April but at a slower pace.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Factory activity shrank for the 10th straight month in April but at a slower pace, according to data out on Tuesday (May 3).

However, some economists say the chances of a sustained lift for manufacturers in Singapore are not high given the lacklustre global outlook.

Regional manufacturing indicators also paint a mixed picture and Asia will likely see more sluggish growth ahead.

Singapore's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - an early indicator of manufacturing activity - came in at 49.8 last month, up slightly from March's 49.4 reading.

A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The modest rise came as domestic and export orders, production and employment shrank at a slower rate, said the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management, which compiles the index.

The electronics sector posted a PMI reading of 49.5 last month, up slightly from 49 in March.

The data is compiled from a monthly poll of purchasing executives at about 150 industrial companies here.

Factory output was similarly lacklustre elsewhere in the region.

Japanese manufacturing activity shrank in April at the fastest pace in more than three years, while weakness in new orders and exports dragged on Taiwanese PMI.

China's official PMI reading was barely positive at 50.1, weaker than expected in light of aggressive pro-growth policies which have been rolled out by policymakers.

A separate private survey of China's manufacturing activity - the Caixin Manufacturing PMI - fell to 49.4 in April, missing economists' estimates for 49.8 and down from 49.7 in March.