Operating conditions for manufacturing best in 5 years during December: Nikkei PMI

02 January, 2018, 11:40 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Buildings in Beijing shrouded by smog. Wikimedia Commons

"Recent PMI surveys show companies are confident for economic development in the new year, with production and operating activity expectation indices showing significant improvement". According to anecdotal evidence, new business inflows were underpinned by greater demand from home and global markets.

Resulting from improved demand conditions, Indian manufacturers upped their staffing levels at the end of the year. The pace of job creation was the strongest since September.

China's slowdown means that for the rest of Asia, the pace of rate increases is unlikely to match that of the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is seen hiking 2-3 times in 2018.

All seven activity sub-indexes expanded in December, but respondents said they continued to face higher energy costs, with some of those costs being passed on to customers.

"Meanwhile, the Future Output Index signalled the strongest level of confidence in three months, with more than one-in-five survey participants forecasting higher production". Strong business performance was underpinned by the fastest expansions in output and new orders since December 2012 and October 2016 respectively.

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"We believe a moderate growth slowdown to be more visible in the first half of 2018, especially on the investment front, due mainly to the tight financial conditions and a cooldown of the property market", BofA Merrill Lynch economists said.

Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said "The Vietnamese manufacturing sector recorded a welcome return to growth of output in December, supported by a solid and accelerated increase in new orders".

The figure pointed to a marked monthly improvement in the business sector and was the strongest reading since August, the Istanbul Chamber of Industry and IHS Markit said. In breakdown, the new order index for the service sector increased slightly slower month on month to 50.9, and that for the construction sector rose at a faster pace to 58.1. "As consumer spending recuperates, firms were restricted in their ability to pass on higher cost burdens to clients which further placed upward pressure on firms' margins".

Sentiment towards the 12-month business outlook picked up slightly from November's joint-record low, but remained well below the historical series average.

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