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Singapore's PMI for March factory output improves but still below 50
A KEY indicator of Singapore's factory output rose last month but remained below the threshold 50 reading, which means the manufacturing sector is still stuck in a slump.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) was 49.4 for March, up 0.9 percentage point from the previous month. February's reading was 48.5, the lowest in three years.
A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing sector is expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates it's declining.
March's reading shows that the sector has been down for a ninth straight month, according to the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management (SIPMM), which compiles the index based on a poll of over 150 purchasing managers.
SIPMM says the better PMI reading for March reflected improvements across major indicators, though most indicators were still down.
"New orders and new export orders were higher over the previous month and factory output recorded improved readings," it says in its monthly report. "Input prices were also higher and manufacturing employment also recorded improved reading."
The key electronics sector PMI reading also rose from 48.2 in February to 49.0 in March. But the sector, which has shrunk since January last year, continued to stay in a slump.