Manufacturing sector records record growth in December

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"Strong business performance was underpinned by the fastest expansions in output and new orders since December 2012 and October 2016 respectively". On the price front, input cost inflation accelerated to the strongest since April and was marked overall.

"Panellists commented on reduced volumes of new business".

"Interestingly, the wages component dipped in December, but at 60.2 it does point to the prospect of some pick-up in wages growth", Mr Oliver said.

Accordingly, Indian manufacturers upped their staffing levels at the end of the year.

The slowdown was reflected in the drop in buying activity in December, the sharpest decline since September.

Despite these additional resources and a slight uptick in stocks of finished goods, manufacturers' backlogs of work increased for an eighth successive month in December.

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Despite the negative impact from the working day effect and lower inventory, December manufacturing PMI indicated that the Chinese economy continued to pick up strength, CICC said. An expectation of an improvement in economic conditions was cited as the key factor behind positive sentiment.

The new order index of the non-manufacturing businesses stood at 52 in December, up 0.2 points from a month ago.

- Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 ― Manufacturers ended the 2017 year stagnant as new orders contracted and output growth slowed from modest demand, December data compiled by Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) showed. "Anecdotal evidence pointed to stronger market demand from home and worldwide markets", said Aashna Dodhia, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

Despite its stable economic growth trend, China also faces some challenges, such as an increase in raw materials prices and rising corporate costs, said Chen of China Logistics Information Center. "As consumer spending recuperates, firms were restricted in their ability to pass on higher cost burdens to clients which further placed upward pressure on firms' margins".

"Given the strong conditions evident in the manufacturing sector, it is no surprise to see that firms are upbeat about the outlook", Philip O'Sullivan, economist with Investec, said.