Factory output up 336.3 percent in March | Inquirer Business
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Factory output up 336.3 percent in March

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 03:23 PM May 11, 2022
Factory output up 336.3 percent in March

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MANILA, Philippines—The volume of goods churned out by manufacturers nationwide climbed 336.3 percent year-on-year in March, auguring well for first-quarter economic growth.

The Philippine Statistics Authority’s latest monthly integrated survey of selected industries (Missi) report on Wednesday (May 11) showed a faster volume of production index (VoPI) increase last March than February’s 75.5-percent growth, while reversing the 73.3-percent drop a year ago amid the then prolonged quarantine measures.

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A proxy for factory output, VoPI’s growth in March was mainly attributed by Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort to further economic reopening toward greater normalcy at the start of this year.

In a report, Ricafort noted that Metro Manila and many other areas accounting for 58 percent of the economy had been placed under the lowest alert level 1 pandemic restriction before the first quarter ended.

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The government’s report on the first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) performance will be out on Thursday (May 12).

Ricafort said it helped that factories’ capacity utilization reached another pandemic-high of 70.4 percent in March — the highest since February 2020, as the eruption of Taal Volcano in January 2020 also slowed down many manufacturing activities before 75 percent of the economy was stopped by the world’s longest and strictest COVID-19 lockdown starting mid-March 2020.

“Almost all the industry divisions reported capacity utilization rates of more than 50 percent except for manufacture of leather and related products, including footwear (40.8 percent),” the PSA said.

“The top three industry divisions in terms of reported capacity utilization rate were manufacture of furniture (85 percent), manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products (79.1 percent), and manufacture of machinery and equipment except electrical (76.4 percent),” it said.

“The proportion of establishments that operated at full capacity (90-100 percent) was 22.7 percent of the total number of responding establishments. Meanwhile, 36.3 percent operated at 70-89 percent capacity, while 41 percent operated below 70-percent capacity,” the PSA added.

The PSA said that 15 of the 22 manufacturing industries covered by the Missi report posted year-on-year increases in factory output last March.
Per sector, the biggest year-on-year jump in production volume recorded that month was the domestic petroleum refinery and coke manufacturing industry’s 2,175.6 percent.

On the other hand, the electrical equipment manufacturing sector suffered from the biggest decline — 36.5 percent year-on-year — in volume of output.

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The value of production index (VaPI) also grew at a faster 358.2 percent year-on-year in March compared to 82.9-percent growth last February, as well as reversing the 74.1-percent contraction during March of last year.

“The surge in VaPI was brought about by the expansion in production of 17 industry divisions. Of these, manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products was the major contributing factor with 2,583.3-percent annual growth rate,” the PSA said.

“Meanwhile, five industry divisions showed downturns in March with the manufacture of electrical equipment registering the highest annual decrease of 34.4 percent,” the PSA added.

For Ricafort, “global supply chain disruptions and constraints are also presenting some opportunities for local manufacturers to service increased international demand, as manifested by Philippine exports at new record-highs recently, thereby benefiting some export-oriented local manufacturers.”

Earlier PSA data on foreign goods trade had shown that the $7.2-billion merchandise exports registered last March were the highest monthly sales of Philippine-made goods overseas to date.

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TAGS: Business, economy, industries, manufacturing, Philippine statistics authority
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