Nikkei M'sia manufacturing PMI slips further

Nikkei M'sia manufacturing PMI slips further

"Increased costs were often passed on to customers, meaning prices charged for goods at the factory gate showed the steepest rise in over four years".

An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due on Thursday which is seen as good guide to economic health, fell to a 16-month low of 55.9 from 59.6, a little below its flash estimate.

Analysts had expected a reading of 53.1 points. In March, price increases occurred across 17 of 18 industry sectors.

"March saw the biggest fall in the manufacturing PMI since June 2011 and the third successive slowing in the pace of expansion".

Manufacturing output growth had remained steadily above 1% towards the end of previous year but may have fallen to about 0.5%, according to economists.

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Britain's PMI inched up to 55.1 in March from a downwardly revised 55.0 in February, beating the 54.7 consensus in a Reuters poll of economists. Anecdotal evidence suggested that greater sales to domestic and export clients had underpinned the latest upturn in new business intakes.

Meanwhile, input prices increased in March, thus continuing the recent trend. Higher operating expenses also led to a rise in factory gate charges.

"With cost inflationary pressures also moderating to provide some respite for margins, the sector looks set to make further slow and steady progress as we head through the spring", Rob Dobson, director at PMI compiler IHS Markit, said.

Although the PMI is positive, it's the lowest in a year; in the last quarter of 2017 the PMI surged by 1,3%.

Adding to that, Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) president and CEO Christian Buhagiar, said manufacturers are still upbeat about their growth prospects for the coming year and many have boosted production capacity. And even while exports and imports are growing, prices are still increasing at a faster rate.

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Mexico's PMI for March was 52.4, up from 51.6 in February.

"(So).even a significantly softer release today would be unlikely to call into question the May rate hike that markets remain nearly fully priced for".

The report showed output levels at manufacturing firms continued to expand strongly in March.

While the USA economy ended 2017 on fairly high note, MarketWatch noted it may have gotten off to a softer start in 2018.

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