September's PMI reading unchanged from August at 50.5

THE manufacturing sector is not yet on solid ground, though data released on Wednesday supports a modest recovery in factory output over the rest of the year.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - an early gauge of manufacturing activity - came in at 50.5 in September, unchanged from August's reading and slightly below economists' expectations of 50.7.

The PMI is compiled monthly by the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) from a survey of more than 150 industrial companies. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

The electronics sector expanded for the eight consective month, posting a PMI reading of 50.3 in September.

Last month's readings for factory production, employment and stocks of finished goods were all higher than August's.

However, new local and export orders both grew at a slower pace last month from August.

The index of new factory orders fell to 51 last month from 53 in August. The reading for new export orders also declined, from 53.4 in August to 51.1 last month.