Electronics surge ends S'pore output slump

PHOTO: Electronics surge ends S'pore output slump

HELPED by increased orders for electronics, manufacturing activity in Singapore rose last month after contracting for six consecutive months, according to an industry survey that showed the country joining in a recovery in manufacturing globally.

The positive Singapore reading followed surveys published over the weekend that showed US manufacturing growth quickened last month, while Chinese factories extended a modest rebound.

Singapore's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 50.2 points last month, from 48.6 points in December, crossing the key 50-point level that separates expansion from contraction on a month-to-month basis, the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management (SIPMM) said on Monday.

"The increase in the overall PMI was attributed to a first-time expansion in new orders and new export orders," the institute said in a statement.

Inventories rose for a fourth consecutive month while input prices rose for the second month, SIPMM added.

A separate PMI for Singapore's electronics sector also improved, rising to 49.9 points from 46.6 points in December.

Both the sub-indexes for new orders and new export orders for electronics turned positive last month.

Singapore, whose trade is around three times GDP, has been badly hit by the weakness in Western economies that has crimped demand for many of its exports.

Electronics manufacturers have also not been as successful in tapping surging demand for smartphones, unlike rivals in South Korea and Taiwan, although investments in the sector remained healthy, according to data from the Economic Development Board last week.