Singapore: Manufacturing and electronics PMIs tick up in March
The manufacturing PMI produced by the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) edged up to 50.8 points in March from 50.4 points in February, marking the first uptick since August of last year. The index, therefore, landed above the crucial 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction in Singapore’s manufacturing sector.
The increase was driven by a broad-based improvement in the index components. Expansions in new orders, factory output, new exports, and employment all gained impetus in March. Moreover, stocks of purchases and finished goods increased, while input prices rose.
At the same time, the electronics PMI also inched upwards (March: 49.8; February: 49.5). However, it nevertheless remained in contractionary territory amid a global slowdown in demand for electronics and technology.
Going forward, a de-escalation of the U.S.-China trade conflict should boost business confidence and demand for Singaporean manufacturing goods.
Providing a longer-term outlook on Singapore’s manufacturing sector, Robert Carnell, chief economist at ING, noted:
“If industry estimates of the quantum leap between 4G and 5G download speeds are correct, then this is going to make the current generation of electronics obsolete very quickly – at least, as soon as content for them catches up. At which point, demand for these goods and their components is going to fly (with the caveat that the associated price jump isn’t mismanaged). For Asia, and for Singapore, this is going to be very, very positive. But we have some uncomfortable quarters to weather first.”