But factory capacity use still high at 83.6%
Manufacturing continued to grow last year, though at a much slower pace of 7.5 percent compared with the 13.9 percent expansion in 2013.
But factories were humming, with production capacity utilization as of December averaging 83.6 percent. More than half of the 20 major industries recorded capacity utilization rates of 80 percent or more, according to the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) report.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said that based on the value of production index (VaPI), manufacturing output rose 6.3 percent in 2014, faster than the 5.4 percent expansion in 2013.
However, VaPI growth in December showed a slowdown to 4.2 percent from its 7.1 percent pace in November.
On the other hand, the volume of production index (VoPI) expanded by 7.5 percent in December, slowing from the revised growth rate of 9.2 percent in November.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine manufacturing sector “is in a catch-up phase.”
“Reforms are helping the manufacturing sector to be on track to higher growth,” said Arsenio Balisacan, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General.
For the first quarter of 2015, brighter job prospects, stable prices of commodities, and higher household incomes will continue to support manufacturing growth, Balisacan said.
The NEDA chief stressed that the growth potential of the sector will be further harnessed through the effective implementation of the Manufacturing Resurgence Program by various national agencies.
Balisacan said the program is expected to rebuild the domestic production base and improve competitiveness through innovation in order to compete in the export market.
“In addition, the government needs to be mindful of infrastructure bottlenecks, and the stability of energy supply likewise needs be ensured in order to foster a stable business environment,” he said.
In December, expansion was noted in printing, beverages, basic metals, petroleum products, chemical products, machine except electrical, fabricated metal products, wood and wood products, miscellaneous manufactures, non-metallic mineral products, transport equipment, and electrical machinery.