Annual growth in manufacturing output improved to 5.1 percent year on year in February from the 0.5 percent observed the previous month, the National Statistics Office reported Tuesday.
Thirteen major sectors reported higher production in February, with furniture and fixtures ahead, posting a 167-percent growth rate. Other big gainers were footwear and wearing apparel (73.2 percent), tobacco products (40.1 percent), non-metallic mineral products (21.9 percent), beverages (15.2 percent), wood and wood products (11.9 percent) and food manufacturing (10.4 percent).
Also, volume of production increased 4.7 percent in February, rising from a decline of 7.2 percent in January. Six of the 13 major sectors that reported double-digit increases were: tobacco products (27.6 percent), furniture and fixtures (19.1 percent), transport equipment (18.4 percent), chemical products (12.9 percent), footwear and wearing apparel (12.4 percent) and non-metallic mineral products (11.1 percent).
In terms of utilization, manufacturers were said to use up an average of 83.3 percent of capacity.
The NSO said that, of the manufacturers surveyed, 20.3 percent operated at full capacity (90 percent to 100 percent) last February.
About 55.5 percent of the establishments operated at 70 percent to 89 percent capacity while 24.2 percent worked below 70 percent capacity.
Ruperto P. Majuca of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that the improvement in factory output bodes well for economic expansion.
The manufacturing uptrend parallels the recent improvement in exports, he added.
“Many of the export subsectors are tied to manufacturing,” Majuca said. “We anticipate that the production uptrend will continue and strengthen in the coming quarters [as] exports continue to strengthen its momentum.”