Singapore PMI shrinks for a 5th straight month despite slight gains

PHOTO: Singapore PMI shrinks for a 5th straight month despite slight gains

SINGAPORE - Singapore's manufacturing activity improved slightly in November but still contracted for a fifth consecutive month as new orders and production output shrank further, a business survey showed, mirroring a tepid recovery globally.

Singapore's Purchasing Manager's index (PMI) rose to 48.8 points last month from 48.3 in October, the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management (SIPMM) said on Tuesday.

A PMI reading below 50 shows activity is contracting.

A separate PMI for Singapore's electronics sector showed activity weakened marginally to 47.4 in November from 47.5 in October.

"The overall employment index recorded a contraction for the 17th (consecutive) time," the SIPMM said in a statement. "The electronics sector employment index edged up 0.8 point to record a contraction at 49.6."

The global manufacturing sector's slump eased in November as output rose for the first time in five months, JPMorgan's Global Manufacturing PMI survey showed on Monday.

That survey, published along with financial data firm Markit, showed global PMI rose to 49.7 in November from 48.8 in October - the best reading since June but still below the key 50 mark.

Chinese manufacturing output grew last month for the first time in 13 months but a contraction in US factory activity kept optimism about the health of the world economy in check.

Surveys also showed the euro zone's manufacturing sector shrank for a 16th straight month in November but a bit less rapidly than in October.

In mid-November, Singapore cut its economic growth forecast for this year to around 1.5 per cent and warned of a subdued 2013 with growth of 1-3 per cent due to risks from the US fiscal cutback and the eurozone crisis.

The wealthy city-state, a major Asian business centre whose trade is three times the size of its economy, has been hit by problems in the West that have hurt financial services and demand for its exports.