Taiwan's manufacturing sector made steady gains in March

Virginia Carson
April 4, 2018

The latest reports show the nation's overall economic health was stronger in the final quarter of a year ago than earlier indications.

While output and new orders continue to rise in March, though at a slower pace, job creation fell for the first time in eight months.

As such, there's been optimism about the year ahead, though the ongoing tariff battles-largely between the USA and China over steel and intellectual property rights-have contributed to inventory stockpiles. "PMI employment data gave warning signs in the labour market", Dodhia said, adding that "manufacturers operating in consumption and intermediate market groups signalled no appetite for recruitment". Higher costs were driven, at least in part, by supply-chain constraints. This is just one-tenth of a point lower than the flash estimate from mid-March and was highlighted by strong new orders and export orders.

Analysts had expected a reading of 53.1 points.

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"Input cost inflation intensified to the sharpest since October 2015, predominantly driven by higher raw material costs stemming from currency weakness relative to the United States dollar".

"March saw the biggest fall in the manufacturing PMI since June 2011 and the third successive slowing in the pace of expansion".

For Canada, manufacturing growth remained strong, though cost inflation hit a four-year high.

The Inventories Index registered 55.5%, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points from the February reading of 56.7%. Anecdotal evidence suggested that greater sales to domestic and export clients had underpinned the latest upturn in new business intakes. "On the price front, price pressures continued to escalate, with both input and output prices rising at faster rates", it said.

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"The latest PMI survey provided further evidence that United Kingdom manufacturing has entered a softer growth phase so far this year", said Rob Dobson, director at data company IHS Markit.

U.S. factories reported a strong end to the first quarter, with the PMI advancing to a three-year high.

Suppliers' delivery times lengthened marginally, with raw material shortages and shipping delays reportedly behind the deterioration.

Released yesterday, the headline PMI - a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance - dropped to 49.5 in March from 49.9 in February.

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