TOKYO -- The Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to 50.2 in December, improving slightly from 49.9 in December.
A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while a reading below 50 points toward contraction.
"The ASEAN manufacturing economy started 2018 on a positive footing, but growth remained fragile. Both output and total new orders grew marginally, but export sales contracted for a second month running," said Bernard Aw, principal economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
"Encouragingly, business confidence about output in the year ahead remained strong, with optimism holding steady at a near one-year high," Aw added.
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