MANUFACTURING sales increased by 7.3% or RM1.9bil to RM28.1bil in July compared with RM26.2bil in the same month last year, said the Department of Statistics yesterday.
The sales value in July was also 1.4% or RM400mil higher from RM27.7bil reported in June.
MIDF Sisma Securities economist Azrul Azwar said: For the first time since March, growth in manufacturing sales managed to exceed that of the industrial output.
It is also heartening that July's manufacturing sales value breached the RM28bil mark for the second time this year.
He said 2000 was the best-performing year for the manufacturing sector since the economic crisis, with total sales averaging RM27.78bil.
If this good performance continues over the next five months, I believe this year's manufacturing sales value can easily breach last year's average of RM25.6bil, he said.
Azrul added that manufacturers would also be able to knock off some of the excesses in inventories during the second half this year if the current sales trend persisted. The average sales value by the manufacturing sector is RM27.2bil.
According to the department, a total of 990,560 persons were engaged in the manufacturing sector at end-July, an increase of 0.3% compared to 987,598 last year.
The number of employees was also higher by 0.3% when compared to the previous month's 987,994.
In tandem with the increased number of employees in July, total salaries and wages paid during the month increased by 3.3% to RM1.56bil from RM1.51bil billed in the same month last year.
Salaries and wages paid in July increased by 0.6% compared with RM1.55bil paid in June.
For the first seven months of this year, the cumulative sales value increased by 9.7% to RM190.5bil versus RM173.6bil during the same period previously.
The department said total salaries and wages paid out to employees in the sector from January to July this year also rose 5.2% to RM10.88bil compared with RM10.34bil disbursed in the previous corresponding period.
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