Manufacturing activity reaches record high in December

Manufacturing Grows at Fastest Pace in Four Months

The manufacturing sector grew in December, setting a new record as business conditions improved at a record pace, a new survey showed.

China's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 51.6 in December, slightly decelerating from 51.8 in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data released Sunday. It was also lower compared to the 55.7 reading posted a year earlier. In order to support output growth, manufacturers raised employment at a substantial pace that was one of the fastest seen throughout the survey to-date.

Manufacturing activity has remained above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction since June 2013 when Ireland was approaching the end of a three-year global bailout programme.

Companies continued to shrink their payrolls last month, despite stronger increases in demand and production, but the rate of job losses was the slowest in nine months.

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Analysts also expect that manufacturing growth will also be affected in the coming months by restrictions on factory production in some areas and especially in heavy industries to reduce pollution. On the price front, Goods and Services Tax (GST) continued to lead to greater raw material costs, with input cost inflation accelerating to the sharpest since April. That said, the level of business confidence remained below the trend observed for the survey history.

The slowdown will continue into 2018 as the government moves forward with its supply-side structural reforms that include curbs on capacity in many industrial sectors.

"This outlook was shared by the manufacturing community as sentiment picked-up to the strongest in three months amid expected improvements in market conditions over the next 12 months", Dodhia said. This was consistent with the strongest improvement in the health of the sector since December 2012.


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