Malaysia's January factory output decline slowest in 20 months - Nikkei PMI

Manufacturing performed well in the first month of 2017, according to the latest survey snapshot of the sector, but United Kingdom firms also saw the sharpest rise in factory input costs on record and an apparently waning boost for exports from the slump in the pound.

The country's manufacturing activity fell to 48.2 index points in January 2017, down from 52.0 recorded in December, the Central Bank of Nigeria said in its Purchasing Managers' Index released on Tuesday.

Vehicle firms have warned the government that the fall in sterling against the dollar and the euro might not be enough to persuade them to continue investing in the United Kingdom if they face tariffs and higher regulatory costs on imports and exports to the European Union.

Manufacturers hired staff at the fastest rate since June 2011 although the flow of new orders expanded at a slightly slower pace than in December. "IHS Markit is now forecasting a solid 6.4% increase in GDP for 2017". "This follows on from the manufacturing survey showing input prices rising at the fastest rate in the surveys' 25-year history".

There was a sharp and accelerated pace of cost inflation linked to higher commodity prices and rising imported raw material costs.

Sanisha Packirisamy and Herman van Papendorp, economists at Momentum, said the survey suggested that an expected improvement in the agricultural sector could support demand for manufactured goods in upcoming months, although sluggish consumer spend remained a risk. More new business and new export orders supported the increase in activity, helped by the recent depreciation of the euro and signs of improving global market demand.

Supplier delivery times lengthened the most since November 2014, but were partly attributed to transportation delays following extreme weather.

"A number of survey respondents commented on a boost to their work loads from the resilient economic backdrop, alongside a strong pipeline of new project starts in 2017". The report also indicated decline in employment levels in both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors.

  • Anthony Vega