THE Industrial Production Index (IPI) grew by 6.4% to 191.5 in November compared with a year ago, but fell 3.6% month-on-month from October.
According to the Statistics Department, the mining sector grew by 9.5% year-on-year to 131.8 from 120.4 while the manufacturing sector expanded 6.4% on an annual basis to 208.1 from 195.6.
The electricity sector rose a 1.2% to 211.9, compared with 209.4 in November 2001.
Economists said the growth in the manufacturing sector was in line with their expectations of between 6% and 7%.
“Although the figure was slightly lower than my expectation, it does not mean that the production activities have slowed down,” said OSK Research Investment economist Lee Soo Kai.
It was difficult to ascertain whether the smaller growth was a result of lower external demand or a slower production as November coincided with the fasting month or even a combination of the two, he added.
A head of research from a local stock brokerage firm concurred with the economists' projected growth.
“My guess is that the domestic industries are pulling the figures down as the export industry has been holding on well. I am more concerned with the domestic industries, especially if one looks at the month-on-month basis, without taking into account the year-on-year effect,” he said.
The low-base effect started easing off from September with November's year-on-year statistics showing a contraction in three out of the last four months, he added.
“It is more crucial to see what happens in the later part of the first quarter.
“If there is no sign of the activities picking up, the government may start some of the pump-priming measures to keep the consumer sentiment at a decent and reasonable level,” he said.
Another analyst said that with prospect of war looming between the US and Iraq, statistics in the initial months of this year would more likely than not, be erratic.
Compared with October, the IPI shrank by 3.6% to 198.7, following a 7% fall in the electricity sector from 227.8, the manufacturing sector by 3.4% from 215.4 and the mining sector by 3% from 135.9.
For the 11 months in 2002, the IPI expanded by 3.9% to 187.5 compared with 180.5 in the same period in 2001.
“The expansion was in line with the positive change in the indices of all sectors,” the Statistics Department said.
The electricity sector grew by 4.9% to 217.7 from 207.6, the manufacturing sector by 4.3% to 204.4 from 196 and the mining sector by 1.4% to 123.8 from 122.1.