Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research president Chang Chuang-chang speaks to reporters in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Wu Chia-ying, Taipei Times
CAUTIOUS: Although the index rose 6.9 points to 54.1 last month, many companies remain conservative about order visibility beyond this quarter, the survey showed
By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter
The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index （PMI） rose to 54.1 last month, returning to growth mode after three months, as almost all sectors reported a pickup, despite lingering global uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research （CIER, 中華經濟研究院） said yesterday.
The index rose 6.9 points from one month earlier, driven by a hefty increase in new orders across industries, the Taipei-based think tank said.
“Operating conditions are definitely improving, but it is too early to bet on a recovery,” CIER president Chang Chuang-chang （張傳章） told a media briefing.
Many firms remain conservative about order visibility beyond this quarter, as escalating COVID-19 infections in most parts of the world bode ill for global trade, Chang said.
PMI movements aim to capture the health of the manufacturing industry, with scores larger than 50 indicating expansion and scores lower than the threshold suggesting contraction.
The sub-index on new business orders rose 14.1 points to 56.7, while the reading on industrial production added 13 points to 58.3, the monthly survey found.
All sectors reported an increase in new business orders and almost all ramped up production, except companies that supply electrical and machinery equipment, it said.
Companies making food and textile products posted the fastest rebound in output to 76.9, followed by providers of transportation tools at 70.5, it said.
Improving business allowed firms to raise staffing levels to 51.7, gaining 6.5 points from 45.2 in June, it said.
IHS Markit yesterday announced similar findings, with its Taiwan manufacturing PMI survey coming in at 50.6.
“The latest PMI numbers provided hope that Taiwan’s manufacturing sector is getting back on its feet,” IHS Markit associate director Annabel Fiddes said in a release.
Raw materials became more expensive, but firms hesitated to pass on the cost burden to stay competitive, both surveys found.
The landscape looks challenging ahead. The six-month business outlook index by CIER rose 5.2 to 49.3, but electronics suppliers logged an under-par showing of 45.7.
Mobile devices have taken a hit amid the pandemic, while companies in the laptop and TV supply chains enjoyed a surge in demand fueled by remote working and learning.
The non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose by 3.3 points to a new high of 57.3, as service-oriented companies benefited from pent-up demand, CIER said.
The upturn is particularly strong for restaurants and hotels, as well as real-estate developers and brokers, the non-manufacturing survey showed.
Non-manufacturing companies generally expect business to gain further traction in the coming six months, while wholesale companies and financial service providers forecast a business correction, it showed.