Taiwan Factory Activity Expands For First Time Since 2018

Taiwan's manufacturing sector had a positive end to 2019, helped by a renewed increase in new work, data published by IHS Markit revealed Thursday.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 50.8 in December from 49.8 in November. A score above 50 signals expansion.

Although only marginal, the sector expanded for the first time since September 2018.

The rate of new order growth was marginal but ended a 15-month sequence of contraction. After a marginal drop in November, there was a broad stabilization of output.

Further, the level of positive sentiment among manufacturers reached a four-month high in December. Firms resumed staff hiring at the end of the year, after workforce numbers were unchanged in November.

Average input costs rose at the quickest pace since March. However, firms reduced their factory gate prices to remain competitive.

"Unless we see a broad-based pick up in global demand alongside the uptick in domestic orders, the sector may struggle to maintain growth momentum at the start of 2020," Annabel Fiddes, a principal economist at IHS Markit, said.

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