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SINGAPORE, March 4 Manufacturing activity in
Singapore fell in February as orders weakened, resuming a
downturn that started in July last year even as factories in the
United States and South Korea reported improving conditions.
The Southeast Asian city-state's Purchasing Managers' index
(PMI) fell to 49.4 points last month from 50.2 points in
January, dropping below the key 50-point level that separates
expansion from contraction for the seventh time in eight months,
the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management
(SIPMM) said on Monday.
The drop in Singapore's manufacturing PMI contrasts sharply
with South Korea, where manufacturing activity expanded in
February at the strongest rate in nine months, according to a
PMI compiled by HSBC and Markit.
U.S. manufacturing activity expanded last month at its
fastest clip in 20 months but some Asian factories slowed and
European output fell, suggesting the road back to robust global
growth remains uneven.
"The dip in the overall PMI was attributed to lower levels
in new orders and a first-time contraction in new export
orders," SIPMM said in a statement.
"Whilst inventory and input prices continued to expand and
posted higher readings, stockholdings of finished goods and
employment reverted to contraction after having expanded in the
previous month," the institute added.
A separate PMI for Singapore's electronics sector improved,
however, rising to 52.1 points from 49.9 points in December on
the back of new orders from domestic and overseas markets, SIPMM
Singapore, whose trade is around three times GDP, has been
badly hit by the weakness in Western economies that has crimped
demand for many of its exports.
Its electronics manufacturers have also not been as
successful in tapping surging demand for smartphones as their
rivals in South Korea and Taiwan, although investment in the
sector remained healthy.
SINGAPORE OVERALL PMI
Feb Jan Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar
49.4 50.2 48.6 48.8 48.3 48.7 49.1 49.8 50.4 50.4 49.7 50.2
52.1 49.9 46.6 47.4 47.5 50.0 50.7 49.2 50.4 50.8 51.5 51.5
New Export Orders Index
49.2 50.7 47.4 48.5 48.0 49.4 50.4 50.2 51.1 50.8 51.3 51.0
- Singapore's PMI is produced ahead of government data on
manufacturing and exports.
- Economists say the PMI does not appear to track activity
at pharmaceutical companies, which make up Singapore's
fastest-growing manufacturing sector.
- For more PMI reports from around the world, see
(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Kim Coghill)