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Singapore's manufacturing, electronics PMIs rise in June

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MANUFACTURING activity in Singapore picked up in June, according to the latest purchasing managers' index (PMI).

The main index rose 0.2 point to 50.4, keeping the gauge of industrial activity above the 50-point mark. A reading above that indicates growth, while one below points to contraction.

The electronics PMI also rose back into expansion zone, gaining 0.5 point from May's 49.8 to a June reading of 50.3.

This comes after the Economic Development Board reported last week that industrial production shrank for a fourth straight month in May. Output fell 2.3 per cent on a year-on-year basis through broad-based declines in all clusters, save chemicals.

While June's PMI hints of brighter days ahead for Singapore's manufacturers after what has been a dismal first half to 2015, there remain uncertainties about external demand. The new export orders sub-index did not gain significantly, and regional PMIs for June were not as upbeat.

Whether the improvement in Singapore's electronics PMI can be sustained into the third quarter bears watching, as it has fallen into contraction territory several times so far this year. The underlying sub-indices showed, for instance, that new export orders for electronics continued to contract.