Manufacturing shows hints of recovery as PMI indicates third straight month of growth

Employees are seen by their workstations at a printed circuit board assembly factory in Singapore.
Employees are seen by their workstations at a printed circuit board assembly factory in Singapore. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The manufacturing sector appears to be gradually picking up again after a long period of sliding output.

Factory output grew for the third straight month in November, after more than a year of contraction.

Singapore's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - an early indicator of manufacturing activity - came in at 50.2 last month, up slightly from 50 in October. A reading of 50 and above indicates expansion.

The PMI had previously been in contractionary territory since June last year, before turning positive in September.

Last month's uptick was attributed to slight improvements in both domestic and export orders.

However, manufacturing employment, which has been shrinking since November 2014, remained lacklustre.

The data was compiled by the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management from a monthly poll of purchasing executives at about 150 industrial firms.

The survey also showed that the PMI for the electronics sector came in at 50.5 last month - down slightly from 50.8 in October but still expansionary. This was the fourth straight month of expansion.