KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The seasonally adjusted S&P Global Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dipped from 47.8 in December to 46.5 in January, indicating a stronger moderation in the health of the sector.
S&P Global said in a statement that the latest reading suggests that the gradual slowdown in manufacturing production and gross domestic product (GDP) growth at the end of 2022 was sustained into the new year.
It said the weaker headline figure was in part due to a stronger moderation in output volumes that was the steepest reported for 16 months.
It said firms commonly attributed muted production to subdued incoming orders.
Meanwhile, new order inflows reduced for the fifth month running in the latest survey period.
The moderation was sharp and the strongest seen since August 2021 as firms noted muted demand and client confidence in both domestic and international markets.
As such, export demand for Malaysian manufactured goods fell further, and at the sharpest pace since June 2021.
S&P Global Market Intelligence economist Usamah Bhatti said there were further signs in January that economic conditions in Malaysia remained muted, as challenging conditions across the manufacturing sector limited demand and production at Malaysian manufacturing firms.
According to him, the latest PMI data are still indicative of growth in official data heading into the new year, though at a softer rate.
Two positives came from the latest survey result, the first being a renewed expansion in employment, helping firms to keep on top of workloads and setting a base to expand output in the future should demand start to regain momentum, he said.
"The second was the first reduction in delivery times for just over three years as material shortages, port congestion and delivery issues continued to normalize. Better availability of materials also contributed to the softest rise in input prices in the current sequence of inflation that began in June 2020," he added.