South Korea's manufacturing sector returned to growth in February after recording contractions in the previous months, data from a survey by Markit Economics and HSBC Bank showed Monday.
The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector increased to 50.9 in February from 49.9 in January, and hit the highest level in nine months. An index reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while one below suggests contraction.
The modest improvement in operating conditions was driven mainly by an increase in new business, with new export orders rising for the second successive month and to the highest level in more than a year-and-a-half.
Meanwhile, production at South Korean factories declined slightly in February as the challenging economic conditions weighed on order book growth.
Companies raised their payroll numbers further during February, marking the third successive increase in staffing levels, encouraged by the modest growth of new orders.
Input prices continued increase in February, and at the sharpest rate in four months, amid a general rise in raw material prices. However, manufacturers lowered their output prices further amid competitive pressures, data showed.
by RTT Staff Writer
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