Malaysia: Manufacturing PMI edges up in March but remains in negative territory
The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), produced by IHS Markit, came in at 49.9 in March, up from February’s 47.7, logging the best reading since July 2020. Nonetheless, the index remained marginally below the 50-threshold that separates deteriorating from improving conditions in the manufacturing sector, compared to the previous month.
March’s improved reading was largely attributed to rising employment levels for the first time in a year, amid manufacturers’ increased optimism over output in the coming 12 months—the highest since September 2020. Moreover, output and new orders rose over the previous month, but remained subdued, amid downbeat client and corporate demand, however. On the price front, input cost inflation accelerated for the 10th month running in March, hitting a near four-year-high, as raw material shortages and higher freight costs pushed prices upwards. This, prompted firms to hike their selling prices, at the quickest pace since March 2017.