• Factory output rises but value still down

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    Manufacturing volumes bounced back in August after three months of decline, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Friday, but in value terms the sector was not doing good as last year.

    Factory output as measured by the volume of production index (VoPI) rose 3.7 percent year-on-year from the revised 0.3-percent contraction in July, the PSA said.

    VoPI growth was slower than the 5.7 percent seen a year earlier, the latest Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) showed.

    Gains were noted in nine sectors, led by miscellaneous manufactures that grew by 75.9 percent and outpaced declines in 11 major sectors. Other gainers were electrical machinery, machinery except electrical, petroleum products, tobacco products, textiles, fabricated metal products, chemical products and footwear and wearing apparel.

    The value of production index (VaPI), meanwhile, was down 4.6 percent in August, a reversal from the 4.5-percent increase recorded a year earlier.

    Twelve major sectors recorded losses in terms of VaPI, particularly furnitures and fixtures, wood and wood products, basic metals, printing, petroleum products, leather products, and footwear and wearing apparel.

    Focusing on VoPI growth, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the bounce back was due to the vigorous construction activity and high demand for automotive products.

    “We must continuously drive domestic demand to offset low global demand and strengthen the link between the agriculture and manufacturing sectors to reduce the economy’s vulnerability to external supply shocks,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.

    Going forward, the NEDA said it remained optimistic for the fourth quarter due to an expected boost from the coming holiday season, spending for the 2016 elections and the expansion of the business process outsourcing industry.

    “This, together with the improved employment situation, low inflation rate, declining oil prices and the sustained remittances from overseas Filipino workers will support the business confidence in the coming months,” Balisacan said.

    The average capacity utilization of factories was 83.3 percent in August, with more than half of the 20 major industries registering utilization rates of 80 percent and above.

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