PH manufacturing activity slows down


The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for April 2021 contracted to 49 from a score of 52.2 of the previous month, the IHS Markit reported Monday.


IHS Markit economist Shreeya Patel attributed the decline to tighter community quarantine measures particularly in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal to control the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as the number of cases started to surge since March.


The IHS Markit report also showed that domestic demand fell for the first time since December 2020 due to stricter lockdown measures.


On the other hand, demand abroad had a softer deterioration in April this year as European countries gradually reopened their markets.


“Firms scaled back on their hiring efforts during the month with a weak demand environment and voluntary resignations often mentioned as driving the decline in employment. Job shedding has now been seen in each month since February 2020, with the latest decline the quickest in four months,” the PMI report said.


Input price inflation in April was the quickest for the past 30 months due to input shortages and higher cost of raw materials.


“Supply-side pressures and rising costs were again evident throughout the latest survey period with material shortages and transportation bottlenecks widely reported. Firms will hope that these issues are resolved, but with the full impact of the Suez blockage yet to take effect, the disruption to global trade is expected to reverberate,” Patel said.


Business outlook of manufacturers was affected during the reimposition of enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus.


Although it remained positive, the manufacturers’ degree of optimism declined to an eight-month low.


“On the brighter side, policymakers have stressed the importance of the vaccination program in bringing a return to normality and while the initial progression was somewhat slow, the roll-out seems to have gathered pace in recent weeks,” Patel added.

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