Singapore manufacturing grows for 16th straight month in December but pace shows signs of slowing

December was the 16th consecutive month of improvement in manufacturing, which makes up a fifth of the economy and is expected to remain a key growth driver in the year ahead.
December was the 16th consecutive month of improvement in manufacturing, which makes up a fifth of the economy and is expected to remain a key growth driver in the year ahead.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Manufacturers ended 2017 on a high, fuelled mainly by strong growth in electronics. But the sector's pace of expansion is showing signs of moderating after a year of breakneck growth.

The latest Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - an early indicator of manufacturing activity - came in at 52.8 for December.

This was down marginally from November's 52.9, which had been the highest reading since December 2009.

A reading of 50 and above indicates expansion.

December was the 16th consecutive month of improvement in manufacturing, which makes up a fifth of the economy and is expected to remain a key growth driver in the year ahead.

The Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management, which compiles the PMI from a monthly poll of purchasing executives in about 150 industrial companies, said the latest reading "capped a year of strong growth for the manufacturing sector".

December's marginal lower reading was attributed to a slower rate of expansion in factory output and inventory, but supported by a slightly faster rate of expansion in new orders, new exports, and employment.

The electronics sector's PMI for December came in at 53.2, its 17th month of growth though dipping slightly from the preceding month's 53.5 reading.

The decline was attributed to a slower rate of growth in new domestic and export orders, new exports, factory output, inventory and employment.