Malaysia's January factory output decline slowest in 20 months - Nikkei PMI

China's January PMI slightly down to 51.3

The climate in manufacturing slumped to a new 16-month low in January, as the Purchasing Managers Index compiled by Markit showed on Wednesday a decline to 46.6 points from 49.3 points in December 2016.

The Indian manufacturing output increased during January on the back of rising order books, but failed to generate jobs in the sector, the research firm said.

Sanisha Packirisamy and Herman van Papendorp, economists at Momentum, said the survey suggested that an expected improvement in the agricultural sector could support demand for manufactured goods in upcoming months, although sluggish consumer spend remained a risk. A rate below 50 indicates a slowdown in economic activity.

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The latest Investec Manufacturing PMI Ireland shows the headline index was at 55.5 in January - that's down from 55.7 in December, but still well-above the 50 mark, which means that the sector is growing.

Around 41% of the survey panel anticipate an increase in production volumes over the next 12 months, compared to just 6% who forecast a reduction.

Input buying rose markedly, adding to the strain on supplier, while input costs continued to rise sharply.

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"Conditions for Australia's manufacturers remained positive in January despite easing from December's end-of-year surge", Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said. Indeed, new orders were also at a more than two-year high, increasing to 54.6 from 52.6.

"The major emerging concern - particularly among the more energy-intensive manufacturers - is the deteriorating energy price outlook which threatens to stifle the tentative recovery underway in the sector", Mr Willox said in a statement. Companies indicated that higher demand for raw materials was testing the capacity at vendors and leading to shortages of certain inputs.

Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said it was worrying that manufacturers were increasingly reliant on domestic demand, which could fade away once price rises feed into the supply chain.

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