Singapore May factory activity expands, hits six-month high

Singapore May factory activity expands, hits six-month high

SINGAPORE - Singapore's manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in six months in May, helped by a pick-up in new orders and production, although the electronics sector contracted for the second straight month, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management's Purchasing Managers' index (PMI) rose to 50.2 in May, rising back above the 50 threshold for the first time since November, when it came in at 51.8.

The May PMI was an improvement from April's two-year low of 49.4, the lowest since February 2013.

A reading below 50 indicates activity is contracting, while one above that points to an expansion.

Expansions in new orders, production output and inventory contributed to the rise in overall PMI, the institute said in a statement.

Although new export orders continued to shrink in May, the new orders index, which includes both domestic and export orders, rose to 50.5, the highest since 53.3 in November.

The PMI for the electronics sector showed a contraction for the second straight month, but still improved to 49.8 in May. In April the electronics PMI had slipped to 49.1, its lowest level since December 2012.

The rise in the overall PMI came even as manufacturing activities in South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan continued to shrink.

China's manufacturing sector showed scant signs of picking up in May as demand stayed stubbornly weak.

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