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Singapore manufacturing expands for 15th straight month in November

FACTORY activity in Singapore continued to expand at a brisk pace in November, rising for the 15th straight month to hit a new high.

The data indicates that manufacturing - which makes up a fifth of the economy and has been its brightest spot this year - is likely to remain a key driver of growth going into 2018.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - an early indicator of manufacturing activity - came in at 52.9 last month. This was up from 52.6 in October and also the highest reading since December 2009.

A reading of 50 and above indicates expansion.

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The Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM), which compiles the PMI from a monthly poll of purchasing executives at about 150 industrial firms, said that the latest data showed broad-based expansion across most sectors. Manufacturing employment also recorded its third straight month of growth.

The survey also showed PMI for the electronics sector came in at 53.5 last month - up slightly from 53.3 in October. This was the 16th straight month of growth in the electronics segment.

"The latest PMI readings suggest a continuing growth of the manufacturing sectors into the next year," said SIPMM.

DBS senior economist Irvin Seah said that the numbers show manufacturing is still in the driver's seat in terms of supporting overall growth, "though there have been signs pointing to moderation ahead".

"The PMI is not seasonally adjusted which means things typically ease off towards the end of the year. However, the numbers are still up, which means the sector will likely close the year with a big bang," he noted.

"This will show up in overall economic growth numbers and should result in more positive spillover for the rest of the economy."

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