Factories ramp up purchases
Manufacturing activity expanded at its fastest pace in seven months in December as a jump in new orders prompted companies to ramp up production. However, business optimism fell close to a three-year low as companies worried about challenging market conditions.
The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by IHS Markit, rose to 52.7 in the final month of 2019 from November’s 51.2. The reading was the highest since May. It also remained above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction for the 29th month in a row, the longest since July 2013.
New work orders saw a marked improvement.
“Factories benefited from a rebound in demand, and responded by scaling up production to the greatest extent since May. There were also renewed increases in input purchasing and employment during December,” Pollyanna de Lima, Principal Economist at IHS Markit, said.