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Dec PMI hints at soft Q1 for S'pore manufacturers

[SINGAPORE] Singapore's manufacturing sector shrank in December, as a key barometer of industrial activity pointed to contraction for the first time in 10 months.

December's purchasing managers' index (PMI), the first industrial indicator released this new year, fell to a reading of 49.7, bucking the market's consensus forecast of 51.1, following November's 50.8 reading. A reading above 50 indicates expansion while one under 50 denotes contraction.

Economists said this suggested a soft start for industrial production this year and reinforced their longer-term view that local manufacturers may not reap the full benefits of the global recovery due to structural domestic issues such as labour supply...

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