Philippine factory output grew at slower pace in March 2023
MANILA -The growth of the country’s factory output slowed down in March to 2.2 percent from 5.2 percent in February amid decreased activity in the manufacturing of beverages, chemicals and base metals, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Unlike last year when the reopened economy was booming from lockdown scenarios in early 2021, the latest readout is akin to a standstill compared with a 346-percent growth of output volume recorded in March 2022.
Also, preliminary data at the PSA show that the growth in the value of net sales contracted by 0.9 percent in March coming from 6.9-percent growth in February and 26 percent in March last year.
Last March, the PSA observed slower factory activities from producers of drinks, chemicals and base metals.
The growth of beverage output volume softened to 4.9 percent from 21 percent in February.
At the same time, the contraction in the output volume of chemicals worsened to 25 percent from 8 percent.
The growth in the volume of basic metals also decelerated to 19 percent from 21 percent.
Michael Ricafort, chief economist at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said growth in manufacturing volume of production might have been slowed down by elevated prices and financing costs.
“The continued growth in the manufacturing volume production, though modest recently, was largely brought about by the fact that the economy further reopened toward greater normalcy, with no large lockdowns so far since 2022 and no lockdowns going forward as a priority of the administration,” Ricafort said.
In March, the 586 firms that were surveyed were operating at an average of 73 percent of capacity, a slight increase from 72.7 percent in February.
All of the 22 monitored manufacturing industries reported capacity utilization rates at more than 50 percent.
The busiest were the makers of non-electrical machinery at 82 percent; transport equipment (81.8 percent); and rubber and plastic products (77.6 percent).
The PSA said 22 percent of respondents in the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries in January were operating at “full capacity — which means at least 90 percent capacity utilization rate.
Also, 38 percent of respondents were operating at 70 percent to 89 percent capacity, and two-fifths operated below 70 percent capacity.