Singapore's manufacturing sector contracted for a third straight month in February, while the electronics sector shrank for the first time after having expanded more than 24 consecutive months - reinforcing expectations of weak economic growth this quarter.
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) - an early indicator of factory activity - stood at 49.7 last month following the 49.9 reading in January. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
The Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management, which compiles the PMI monthly from its survey of purchasing managers at more than 150 industrial companies, cited a further fall in new orders. February's PMI numbers showed a contraction in new export orders and production output, input prices and employment. Inventory, however, expanded for the first time, while stockholdings and imports continued to expand.
The electronics PMI posted a contraction for the first time after having expanded more than 24 consecutive months, due to a moderation of new orders. The sector, which contributes about a third of total factory output, posted a reading of 49.8, down from 50.5 in January.