Domestic manufacturing sector prospect remains bleak: Kenanga

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The pace of expansion improved in France, while growth in Spain and Italy weakened in April.

The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed a reading of 53.9 last month, lower than the 54.9 for March.

The IHS report showed that US manufacturing operating conditions improved at the fastest rate since September 2014 and that overall output rose by the quickest pace since January 2017. Although still signalling a solid rate of expansion, the upturn has lost noticeable momentum since the PMI hit a record high in December 2017.

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The poor reading in part reflected a weakening in the pace of expansion of new work from overseas, the report said, with growth of new export business hitting a 10-month low.

In line with rising new orders (from the domestic market that is) and rising production, Indonesian manufacturers' purchasing activity (input buying) rose last month, with the rate of growth accelerating to the fastest since July 2014. The PMI's gauge of factory cost pressures cooled to a nine-month low, something that will be noted by BoE rate-setters who are keeping an eye on inflation pressures ahead of next week's policy decision. Although this will be unreservedly welcomed by policymakers, weak export sales will be a concern and may be a sign of things to come amid the recent strength of the yen.

Zhao Qinghe, an economist with the NBS, said that as the nation's manufacturing sector maintains stable growth, especially among high-quality and high-tech companies, the profitability of manufacturers improved during the past month.

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"We also see the weaker April trade figures in hi-tech power houses, South Korea and Taiwan, as an indication that the global tech upcycle has reached its peak".

"A composite PMI above 50 points indicates that the manufacturing/non-manufacturing economy is generally expanding, 50 points indicates no change and below 50 points indicates that it is generally contracting". The contraction quickened to a solid pace that was the fastest since the end of 2017. "At the same time, IHS Markit anticipates that widening interest rate differentials will lead to a further depreciation of the Indonesian rupiah this year", Dodhia said.

It also said that firms continued to shed staff, while inflationary pressures moderated sharply.

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