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Indonesian manufacturing activity contracts to record low in Feb

[JAKARTA] Indonesia's manufacturing activity contracted for the fifth straight month in February, with the headline index falling to a record low due to lower production and new orders, the HSBC Markit purchasing managers'index (PMI) survey showed on Monday.

The HSBC Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 47.5 in February from 48.5 in January. That is the lowest reading since the survey started in April 2011.

A reading below 50.0 signals contraction in activity.

Manufacturers struggled to pass on higher import prices to customers because of stiff competition within Southeast Asia's largest economy, the survey said. "As new orders fell at a survey-record pace, reflective in part of rising prices negatively weighing on demand, the near-term outlook for the sector remains a little underwhelming," said Paul Smith, senior economist at Markit.

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Mr Smith added that manufacturers continued to cut staffing levels due to concerns over falling demand and pressure on profit margins.