TOKYO-- The Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, recovered to 50.5 in January, showing improvement from last December when the index fell to 49.9.
A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while a reading below 50 points toward contraction.
The index rose to a 43-month high of 52.0 in November, followed by a contraction in December which signaled a stagnation in the goods-producing economy.
"The recent steady run of output growth lost some steam in January, but the manufacturing PMI data signaled a return to expansion of new orders," said Aashna Dodhia, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
"This, alongside rising employment and buoyant sentiment, suggests that output could regain momentum as the year progresses," Dodhia added.
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