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ASEAN manufacturing sector sees growth in Q1 2024: S&P Global

02 Apr '24
2 min read
Pic: Adobe Stock
Pic: Adobe Stock


  • The ASEAN manufacturing sector saw accelerated growth in the first quarter of 2024, with the PMI rising to 51.5 in March, indicating the strongest improvement in nearly a year.
  • Price pressures eased, and demand for manufactured goods increased, driven by domestic markets.
  • Output growth hit a ten-month high, but new export orders continued to fall.
Growth within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) manufacturing sector accelerated at the close of the first quarter (Q1) of 2024, according to S&P Global. The principal S&P Global ASEAN manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) increased to 51.5 in March, up from 50.4 in February, signalling a robust enhancement in operating conditions and one that was the most marked in almost a year.

Price pressures moderated since February. Cost burdens and output charges rose at the weakest pace in three and eight months respectively.

Demand for ASEAN manufactured goods bounced back as new orders rose for the first time in seven months in March. The rate of expansion was the fastest since mid-2023. However, the latest upturn appeared to have been driven primarily by domestic demand rather than international markets. In fact, the downturn in new export orders deepened and extended the current run of decrease to 22 months, as per S&P Global.

The renewed rise in new orders helped strengthen growth in output. The upturn here was the strongest in ten months. Backlogs also rose in March for the first time since last June, although only fractionally. Greater production requirements prompted firms to raise their staffing levels for the second consecutive month, albeit at a weaker and marginal pace. Buying activity also picked up. The latest upturn was the strongest recorded in the current five-month sequence of expansion.

In terms of input delivery times, average vendor performance remained broadly unchanged despite demand conditions improving.

By country, improvements in operating conditions were largely centred around the Singaporean and Indonesian manufacturing sectors. Meanwhile, the Philippines registered only a modest improvement. Elsewhere, Vietnam’s manufacturing sector recorded broadly no change in operating conditions, while the remaining three ASEAN constituents (Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar) all recorded deteriorations in March.

Looking ahead, sentiment across the region was largely optimistic. However, the degree of confidence remained historically subdued and slipped to an eight-month low.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)

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