Malaysia's November manufacturing PMI rises to 52.3

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian manufacturing sector continued to improve in November, with further expansion in both output and new orders, according to the latest IHS Markit data.

Its headline Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) - a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance - edged up to 52.3 from 52.2 in October as manufacturers noted improved operating conditions for the second successive month.

"As demand improved, firms noted that pressure on capacity also intensified, which led to employment levels returning to expansion territory, albeit only marginally, for the first time since March,” said IHS Markit.

The data firm said the latest reading signalled that industrial production had improved during the fourth quarter so far, and was likely to contribute positively to economic growth at the end of 2021.

Commenting on the results, chief business economist Chris Williamson said that while producers had seen a welcome upturn in demand, production continued to be constrained by widespread supply shortages, leading to a steep rise in uncompleted orders and yet another worryingly sharp rise in prices as demand exceeded supply.

"Encouragingly, companies are increasingly optimistic that production problems will start to clear in coming months, propelling firms’ prospects for the year ahead to among the highest seen since the pandemic began and auguring well for the recovery to continue to gain momentum as we head into 2022," he said.

Moving forward, manufacturers displayed a stronger sense of optimism regarding the outlook for output in the coming year, IHS Markit said.

"The degree of sentiment was robust, and the highest reported since April,” it added.

In a separate statement, IHS Markit said the ASEAN manufacturing sector remained in expansion territory during November but the PMI was down at 52.3 compared with 53.6 in October.

Nonetheless, it said, the reading indicated one of the quickest improvements in ASEAN manufacturing conditions on record.

"Both output and new orders rose further, with the rates of growth remaining close to recent peaks despite easing slightly, while firms cut jobs at the weakest rate for five months,” it said.

Indonesia recorded the fastest rate of expansion with the PMI (53.9), followed by Malaysia (52.3), Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore (52.2), Thailand (50.6) and Myanmar (50.0).

Commenting on the result, economist Lewis Cooper said the PMI remained above the 50.0 mark to signal another improvement in manufacturing conditions, buoyed by further increase in factory production, with the rate of output growth easing only slightly from October's survey record.

"Overall, the latest data provide some promising signs, with the ASEAN manufacturing sector continuing to recover, and rates of growth in output and new work sticking close to their recent peaks," he said. - Bernama
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