TOKYO -- Manufacturing activity in ASEAN economies improved slightly in March thanks to a rebound in new orders and higher output, according to a survey.
The Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, rose from 49.6 in February to 50.3 in March, moving above the 50 point line that separates growth from contraction.
The growth was supported by a slight rebound in new orders, the first time recorded in 2019. Myanmar continued to log the strongest rate of expansion, at 52.4, followed by Vietnam and the Philippines. The weakest reading was Malaysia at 47.2.
“The survey found that a slight rise in sales and production growth lifted business sentiment,” said David Owen, Economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey. “Nevertheless, this still left the average PMI reading for the quarter at its lowest since Q4 2016.”
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