• March factory output likely up 5.2% on-year

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    THE Philippines’ manufacturing output likely grew at a faster pace in March from February and from a year earlier as domestic demand may have fueled expansion in food manufacturing, Moody’s Analytics said in an outlook on next week’s data.

    In its latest weekly report, the economic research arm of Moody’s Investors Service said manufacturing output likely expanded by 5.2 percent in March after rising 4.4 percent in February.

    In March last year, factory output shrank by 0.1 percent year-on-year.

    The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is expected to release the preliminary March manufacturing output data next week.

    “Philippine industrial production likely ticked up a notch in March, from February’s 4.4 percent year-on-year. Domestic demand is going strong and should lift food manufacturing, the largest component of the industrial production survey,” Moody’s Analytics said.

    “Chemical and petroleum production is struggling in year-on-year terms with the slump in oil prices but has probably reached a trough with global prices finding a floor,” it also noted.

    In February, manufacturing output as measured by the Volume of Production index (VoPI) grew at a slower pace of 4.4 percent compared with the 6 percent growth recorded a year earlier.

    On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund said that weak manufacturing data along with slowing exports may have pulled down Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2015 from a growth rate of 6.9 percent in the last quarter of 2014.

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