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Asia's manufacturers start the year off strong

January's Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index perks up, a bit

HONG KONG Asian manufacturers started the year off strong, as global trade picked up in January, the latest Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index survey showed. Nine of 11 Asian countries and regions surveyed saw an expansion of manufacturing activities in the month, with the overall reading for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations returning to growth after showing a contraction in the previous month. Only Indonesia and Singapore failed to see any improvement.

The upbeat figures echoed the optimism of International Monetary Fund, which revised its global growth outlook to 3.9% for both 2018 and 2019 last month, up 0.2 percentage point from its previous update in October. The IMF expects tax reforms in the U.S. will stimulate business activities and benefit the country's major trading partners.

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