Manufacturing picks up in India and China

Ben Southwood
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INDIAN and Chinese factories dialled their activity up a notch as 2012 came to a close, but similar rises were not enjoyed across the rest of Asia.

India’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) climbed to 54.7 in December, from 53.7 in November, Markit data revealed yesterday. As this value is further above 50, it signals faster expansion in the sector. And data released Monday showed factories in the continent’s biggest economy, China, stepped up their activity as well, registering a PMI of 51.5, up from 50.5 in November.

But some of the smaller economies in the region had a harder time in the closing month of 2012. Vietnam saw its PMI fall back below 50, marking the eighth time the sector has declined in nine months. Indonesia’s expansion also slowed, and though manufacturers reported expansion in South Korea and Taiwan their figures were only marginally above the all-important 50 level.

The results were worse south of Asia in Australia, where manufacturing activity slid for the 10th consecutive month, posting a figure of 44.3 and failing to show any improvement on November’s figures.