THE COUNTRY’S FACTORY output extended its losing streak to 11 months in January, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary results of the PSA’s latest Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) showed factory output, as measured by the volume of production index (VoPI) fell by 16.7% year on year in January, faster than the 12% decline in December 2020 and a reversal of the 1.9% growth a year earlier.

The January MISSI marked the first time the statistics agency used 2018 prices compared with 2000 prices used in the previous surveys.

The PSA noted declines in 18 out of 22 industry divisions in January led by the manufacture of wood, bamboo, cane, rattan articles and related products (-53.4%), manufacture of machinery and equipment except electrical (-48.9%), and manufacture of tobacco (-42.6%).

The capacity utilization — the extent to which industry resources are used in producing goods — averaged 46.1% in January, down from 49.1% the previous month. Of the 22 sectors, only seven averaged a capacity utilization rate of at least 50%.

This was in stark contrast to the 72.8% utilization rate for December 2020 that was reported last month. According to the PSA, the revision was due to the increase of responding establishments as well as the adoption of a new methodology. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona