PH manufacturing activity likely sped up anew in March
Overall domestic manufacturing sector performance, as measured by the purchasing managers’ index (PMI), likely sustained growth in March with many parts of the country moving to the lowest alert level in pandemic restrictions.
Without providing a number, Dutch financial giant ING said in a March 24 report that the Philippines’ PMI reading for March was “expected to improve from the previous month.”
In February, PMI jumped to 52.8, reflecting an expansion from January’s 50 or flat growth. Last month’s PMI was a three-year high as the country gained from the further reopening of the economy, which took a hit in January amid stricter mobility curbs to contain the surge in new COVID-19 infections.
The March PMI report of global information service provider IHS Markit will be out on Friday, April 1. A reading of 50 and above indicates an expansion, while anything below suggests a contraction.
ING noted “the Philippines will enjoy another month of expansion [in March] as the country saw its lowest level of restrictions since the start of the pandemic, thanks to the large drop in COVID-19 cases.”
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua last week said that as of mid-March, 70 percent of the country was already under alert level 1, allowing the economy to gain P10.8 billion in output per week and add 195,000 jobs by the next quarter.
In a March 25 report, London-based think tank Capital Economics also projected a PMI growth for the Philippines in March, although at a slower 51.5.
The research firm likewise estimated an above 50 PMI for countries in emerging Asia.
ING also expects neighboring Indonesia to post an improved PMI in March from February’s 51.2 as COVID-19 cases decrease.
But in the case of China, where infections are on the rise, March PMI growth would likely slow to 50.2 from 50.4 last month to “reflect that both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing activity could be moderately affected by stricter COVID-19-related social distancing measures,” according to ING. INQ
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