Indonesia's manufacturing activity shrinks for 7th straight month in April

A worker makes a final check on a Toyota Motor Corp. Kijang Innova minivan on the production line of PT. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia's (TMMIN) Karawang plant in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG 
A worker makes a final check on a Toyota Motor Corp. Kijang Innova minivan on the production line of PT. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia's (TMMIN) Karawang plant in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG 

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's manufacturing activity shrank for the seventh straight month in April as export orders continued to decline and domestic demand remained weak, an HSBC Markit survey showed on Monday.

The purchasing manager's index (PMI) rose slightly to 46.7 in April from 46.4 in March - the lowest reading since surveys began in April 2011 - but remained well below 50, the level separating contraction from expansion.

"April's PMI survey highlights the current fragility of the Indonesian manufacturing sector, with both the domestic and export markets sources of weakness," said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit. "Despite the weaker rupiah, businesses struggled to price competitively at a global level as the cost of imported raw materials increased."

Output continued to fall as incoming new work slowed, and poor weather hampered activity. As a result, employers shed staff for the ninth straight month.

"Companies continued to trim employment, buying levels and pre-production inventories, highlighting an expectation that conditions will remain tough in the near future," De Lima added.

Producers also reported increasing inventories in April. The seasonally adjusted stocks of finished goods index rose to the highest reading since the first month of data collection.