‘Production volume, value up in November 2018’

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A worker is seen riveting bolts on a motor at a factory in Metro Manila. RAPPLER

MANILA – The country’s manufacturing sector in November 2018 managed to remain upbeat despite last year’s inflationary uptick, as both volume and value of production indices were up.

The Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) Manufacturing Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) reported Friday that volume of production (VoPi) in November last year inched up 1 percent compared to a 10.1-percent decline in the same month in 2017.

Although it was the slowest output growth in 2018, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) noted that the local manufacturing sustained its growth for 11 consecutive months.

Seven out of the 14 major industries that registered increases in output grew double-digit, led by the 45.8 percent growth of textile industry. This is followed by petroleum products, which rose 22 percent; tobacco products, up 21.1 percent; paper and paper products, up 15 percent; beverages, up 11.7 percent; and electrical machinery, up 11 percent.

Value of production index (VaPi) grew faster than VoPi at 2.1 percent in November 2018, likewise, a recovery from a 10.6-percent drop in 2017.

The NEDA said that factory output in November last year was likely dampened by the less optimistic business and consumer outlook as reported by the central bank.

Earlier, IHS Markit Economist David Owen mentioned that export orders for Philippine goods had the highest drop in nearly three years in November 2018 based on its manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI).

Owen however noted that the strong domestic demand had offset the decline in export orders.

Meanwhile, the PSA reported that average capacity utilization of factories is stable at 84.3 percent in November last year, the same rate in its previous month.

Eleven out of the 20 major industries operated their manufacturing facilities at least 80 percent of their capacity utilization.

These industries include petroleum products operating at an average of 89.9 percent, basic metals at 89 percent, non-metallic mineral products at 86.5 percent, machinery except electrical at 86 percent, chemical products at 85.2 percent, food manufacturing at 85 percent, electrical machinery at 85 percent, paper and paper products at 83.8 percent, rubber and plastic products at 83.3 percent, wood and wood products at 81.6 percent, and textiles at 80.3 percent.

For his part, International Chamber of Commerce Philippine Founder and Chairman Francis Chua told the Philippine News Agency that the trade friction between the United States and China, in a way, has benefitted the Philippines.

“Thanks to China-US trade war, a lot of Chinese manufacturing companies are eyeing and moving to the Philippines,” Chua said.

Data from the Board of Investments (BOI) alone showed that investment pledges in the manufacturing sector surged to P409.3 billion in 2018 from P96 billion commitments in the same sector in 2017.

China was also the top source of foreign investment pledges at the BOI, amounting to P48.7 billion. (PNA)

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