Euro zone factory boom stumbles again in March but growth solid -PMI

Strong Canadian manufacturing growth maintained in March

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Britain's factories increased production unexpectedly last month despite the sector experiencing its weakest quarter in a year, with signs the growth spurt enjoyed towards the end of 2017 has fizzled out. Adjusted for seasonal factors, the headline Purchasing Managers Index, a composite indicator created to provide a single- figure snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing economy, posted 51.0 in March, down from 51.6 in February.

"Without a significant rise in new orders, and if supply chains are still disrupted by shortages or the weather, for the next few months it's anticipated that there will be a continued muted pace of growth".

March's purchasing managers' index for manufacturing, a monthly survey of 600 industrial companies that is seen as an important economic indicator, increased to 55.1 from 55 in February, with any reading over 50 signalling expansion.

After remaining positive for the eight consecutive months, manufacturing sector activity in India declined in March to a low of five months, as the fresh business orders grew at a slower pace, and companies showed reluctance for recruitment, according to a private survey.

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Euro zone economic growth has already peaked, a Reuters poll found last month, but the European Central Bank will probably decide this summer to slash its bond purchases if things develop as expected, policymaker Ewald Nowotny said last week.

New order volumes increased at a robust pace in March, which marked eighteen months of sustained expansion.

"We believe that even though [the] March PMI fell to a five-month low this should not translate into a sharp slowdown in the manufacturing sector in the remaining 1H18".

Lee expects the manufacturing sector to continue growing but at a slower pace in the second half of 2018 (2H18) partly due to the potential trade war between the U.S. and China which could impact Malaysia's manufacturing sector, especially for export-oriented players. The peso's depreciation against the US dollar didn't help matters either.

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Output rose for the 14th straight month in the face of "stronger underlying demand".

A reading above 50% indicates manufacturing is expanding, while below 50% signals contraction.

Input prices continued to rise sharply but the rate of inflation eased markedly and was the slowest since July 2017. Manufacturers scaled up their purchasing activity in March, though at a slower pace than in February.

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