The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) last month fell to 63.2, slowing from an unprecedented high a month earlier, as the Lunar New Year holiday cut the number of working days, while firms displayed the strongest business sentiment on record, the Chunghua Institution for Economic Research (CIER, 中華經濟研究院) said yesterday.
All manufacturing sectors except textile and food suppliers reported business upswings last month from a year earlier, although the Lunar New Year holiday eliminated one week, which explains why the economic barometer stayed in the expansion zone, but shed 1.9 points, the Taipei-based think tank said.
PMI data aim to capture the health of the manufacturing industry, with scores lower than 50 indicating contraction and values above the neutral threshold signaling expansion.
Photo: Chen Wen-chan, Taipei Times
“Holiday disruptions accounted for the month-on-month retreat, which is harmless, as firms expressed clear order visibility for the coming six months,” CIER president Chang Chuang-chang (張傳章) told a media briefing.
Expectations of a global economic recovery have led businesses around the world to rebuild inventory, ramping up production at their local suppliers, Chang said, adding that the trend would become more evident as more people receive COVID-19 vaccines.
The reading on the six-month business outlook added 3.2 points to a record 73.3, as orders swelled across all sectors, Chang said.
For last month, the sub-index on new work stood at 65.6, comfortably in the positive territory, and so was the industrial output measure, at 63.9, the CIER survey showed.
Hiring activity hovered at a similar level of 58, or 0.5 points lower from one month earlier.
The sub-index for delivery time held steady at 73.3, as container shortages and shipping delays deteriorated, it said.
Customers’ inventory level was 44.5, 1.3 points lower from one month earlier.
The measure on raw material prices surged to 87.8, the highest since the launch of the survey in July 2012, as recovery expectations pushed up demand, Chang said, adding that a global container shortage and earlier snow storms in the US made things worse.
Strong order visibility drove some firms to rearrange shipment schedules by first meeting demand from customers who offered higher prices or placed larger orders, CIER researcher Chen Shin-hui (陳馨蕙) said.
Firms are more eager to replenish inventory and less concerned about material costs, compared with the previous quarter, Chen said.
Purchasing activity among non-manufacturing firms last month showed a similar pattern of losing some steam with a reading of 52.1, 2.9 points lower than in January, CIER said.
Unfavorable holiday effects were poignant for shipping and logistics service providers and insurance companies, the institute said.
Service-focused firms are generally upbeat about business moving forward, except restaurants and hotels, it said.
SUPPLY HICCUPS: Poor manufacturing yields at Apple’s overseas suppliers have caused at least one maker of its new MiniLED displays to pause production, sources said The next-generation display destined to be a highlight of Apple Inc’s upcoming top-tier iPad Pro is facing production issues that could lead to short initial supplies of the new device, people familiar with the matter said. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant plans to showcase a new MiniLED display technology in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro set to be announced as early as the second half of this month. However, the firm’s overseas suppliers are dealing with poor manufacturing yields, the people who asked not to be named discussing sensitive matters said. At least one of the MiniLED makers has had to pause production as
RETAIL BANKING EXIT: Clients are concerned whether their rights would be protected, while employees were caught by surprise as the bank had just upgraded its services Citibank Taiwan Ltd (花旗台灣) yesterday said that credit card clients could continue using their cards as operations would continue normally until it sells its consumer banking business. As of February, the bank had 2.86 million credit cards in circulation in Taiwan, of which 2.17 million had been used in the past six months, ranking it sixth among all banks, data from the Financial Supervisory Commission showed. Credit card spending by Citibank clients totaled NT$15.66 billion (US$552.6 million) in February, also ranking sixth among banks in Taiwan. Citibank was the only foreign bank that made it into the top six. Customers should not
END OF AN ERA: The Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets have served the airline well, but new-generation aircraft are more fuel-efficient, CAL chairman Hsieh Shih-chien said China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 華航) yesterday bid farewell to its last four Boeing 747-400 planes, ending the era of the “Queen of the Skies” at the airline. CAL has since 1975 operated a total of 29 747 series aircraft manufactured by Boeing Co. In 1990, it started receiving delivery of 19 747-400 jumbo jets, with the last one, the B-18215, delivered in 2005, it said. The B-18215 was the last of the passenger model produced by Boeing, making the 16-year-old aircraft the world’s youngest 747-400, CAL chairman Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) told an event to bid farewell to the planes at Taiwan Taoyuan
DIVERSE SUPPLY: TSMC chairman Mark Liu said the firm’s US$12 billion investment in Arizona would succeed with continued bipartisan support from the US Congress Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, on Monday took part in a virtual White House summit about a global semiconductor shortage and Washington’s plans to strengthen US supply chains. The Hsinchu-based company was among 19 firms, including fellow chipmakers Samsung Electronics Co, GlobalFoundries Inc and Intel Corp, that attended the summit hosted by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, US National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. US President Joe Biden told executives in the meeting that there is bipartisan support in the US Congress for efforts to strengthen the US