Published: Tue, January 02, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

Operating conditions for manufacturing best in 5 years during December: Nikkei PMI

Operating conditions for manufacturing best in 5 years during December: Nikkei PMI

The Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 51.5 last month, up from 50.8 in November.

The final figure, unchanged from the initial flash reading, was far above the 50 line that separates growth from contraction, as Europe's largest economy ended 2017 on an unusually strong footing.

The World Bank last month raised its projection for China's gross domestic product (GDP) previous year to 6.8%, up from its October estimate of 6.7%, citing support from strong exports and robust domestic household consumption.

Outstanding business also declined for a seventh successive month in December, showing evidence of under-capacity in the manufacturing sector.

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"Robust external demand and accommodative domestic monetary policy should help keep Asian manufacturing sectors in good shape", said Krystal Tan, Asia economist at Capital Economics.

Overall business confidence rose and reached an eight-month high.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the expansion added momentum to a year marked by higher energy prices and the shutdown of Holden and Toyota auto production in Australia.

Output expanded at the same pace as in August, matching the highest monthly rate of the year, with companies citing improved sales and stronger underlying market demand as key sources of economic growth. The pace of job creation was the strongest since September.

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Singapore on Tuesday posted slower economic growth in the fourth quarter than the third as manufacturing shrank 11.5 percent following an eye-popping 38 percent jump in the previous three months.

Manufacturers' optimism about their business prospects over the next 12 months rebounded from November's record low, but remained well below the historical average, according to the Caixin survey. The manufacturing PMI is seen rising to 56.5 in December from 56.1 in November. The level of new contracts received from overseas - mainly from Asia, the United States and Europe - rose at the fastest rate in the history of the survey.

Qu Qing, an analyst at Hua Chuang Securities, said the construction sector has helped bolster the index, indicating that infrastructure investment remains stable, which will help boost overall economic growth in 2018.

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