CONDITIONS in Singapore's manufacturing sector in August, though unchanged from the previous month, marked a seven-month high. But marginal improvement was seen in Asean's manufacturing sector, financial information services provider IHS Markit said in a release on Thursday.
The Nikkei Singapore manufacturing purchasing manager's index (PMI) was at 50 in August, compared to the 50.3 reading measured across seven countries in Asean.
Taken together, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam account for about 98 per cent of Asean manufacturing activity, said the release.
Readings above 50 denote increasing rate of growth from the previous month, while those below show a quickening pace of contraction.
Asean's manufacturing PMI was at 49.5 in July. Domestic new businesses helped lift the PMI in August, said IHS Markit. Foreign demand was unchanged, however.
Singapore's unchanged performance in August is due to an increase in output and a slowdown in the rate of job shedding, said IHS Markit. However, the better performance was countered by falling new orders.
Singapore's reading of 50 would mean that performance of its manufacturing sector straddles the divide between better-performing ones and those that fared worse in Asean countries.
The Philippines topped the charts at 55.3, followed by Vietnam (52.2), Indonesia (50.4), Thailand (49.8), Malaysia (47.4) and Myanmar (47.2).
Though the Asean manufacturing PMI painted a mixed picture, there is still room for growth for the sector, said Alex Gill, an IHS Markit economist.
"An expansion in output was reported in five out of the seven countries, indicating that the sector remains well-positioned for future growth," he said.
Another indicator of Singapore's manufacturing health will be published on Friday by the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management. This PMI was at 49.3 for July.
On Monday, a private-sector PMI for Singapore will be published by IHS Markit. It was at 50.7 for July.