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Philippine Manufacturing Activity Growth Moderates

The Philippine manufacturing sector growth moderated in March as the expansion in new orders softened, survey results from IHS Markit showed Monday.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 52.2 in March, down fractionally from 52.5 in February. However, the reading continued to stay above the 50.0 neutral value, that separates expansion from contraction.

"A strong first quarter places the sector in good stead for a return to industrial production growth in 2021, with our current forecast expecting a 7.1% expansion," Shreeya Patel, an economist at IHS Markit, said.

New orders grew at a slower pace as foreign demand remained subdued. Meanwhile, falling backlogs and voluntary resignations contributed to a marginal decline in workforce numbers.

Firms remained optimistic that output will rise over the next 12 months, with hopes of higher sales fueling expectations.

Cost burdens faced by Filipino goods producers increased at a sharp and accelerated pace. Firms chose to partially pass on rising expenses by increasing factory-gate prices. The rate of output price inflation was robust overall, and sharpest since November 2018.

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