The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) expanded for a 16th consecutive month to reach 57.6 last month, although growth has decelerated since peaking at 58.7 in December last year, the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER,中華經濟研究院) said yesterday.
The economic barometer gauges the health of the local manufacturing industry, with scores above 50 indicating an expansion and those below representing a contraction.
“The latest PMI figures indicate that industry sentiment continued to improve, but at a slower pace,” CIER president Wu Chung-shu (吳中書) told a news conference in Taipei.
The nation’s four major manufacturing industries — basic materials, transportation, electrical and mechanical, and electronics and optics — all recorded expansions last month, statistics showed.
However, the food and textiles industry, and the chemicals, biotechnology and medical industry dropped to 47.6 points and 49.6 points respectively.
The decline in the two sectors could be attributed to the slow season, the Taipei-based think tank said in its monthly report.
The PMI’s five sub-indices — new orders, production, employment, inventories and supplier deliveries — all trended up last month, the report showed.
New orders climbed to 58.3 points last month from May’s 57.3 points, with orders for electronics and optical devices — the two main pillars of the nation’s economy — reaching 64.2 points last month, the survey found.
Taiwanese manufacturers expressed optimism about their business prospects in the second half compared with the first half, according to a survey released twice-yearly by CIER.
“Despite optimistic forecasts, local companies still have concerns about several economic uncertainties,” Wu said, citing the sharp appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar and rising labor costs due to new labor regulations.
The non-manufacturing index (NMI) also remained above the 50-point threshold, although the index slid to 52.7 points from May’s 54.8 points, the institute said in a separate report.
Education service providers reported the worst decline in business, followed by transportation service providers, the NMI survey showed.
Service-oriented firms are generally optimistic about market sentiment in the coming six months, with the exception of companies in the catering and construction industries, the institute said.
The sub-index on the six-month outlook remained in positive territory at 51.5 points, marking its fifth consecutive month of expansion, the report showed.
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