Factory output eased to its lowest in 13 months in April, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary results from the PSA’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) showed manufacturing output, as measured by the volume of production index (VoPI), went up 3.4% year on year in April.

This was slower than the revised 352.3% growth in March and the 157.8% in April last year.

It marked the slowest pickup in 13 months or since the 73.1% contraction in March last year.

Manufacturing growth averaged 54.8% in the first four months to April.

Fourteen out of 22 industry divisions recorded expansions in April, led by textiles with 45.6% which grew almost twice from the previous month’s record of 24%. This was followed by manufacture of machinery and equipment except electrical with 39.2% (from March’s 48.4%).

On the other hand, declines were recorded for eight industry divisions.

In comparison, S&P Global’s Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 54.3 in April from 53.2 in March. It was the highest reading in more than four years since the 54.8 print in November 2017

The 50-mark separates manufacturing expansion from contraction.

The capacity utilization — the extent to which industry resources are used in producing goods — averaged 69.2% in April, slower from the revised 70.9% in the previous month. Of the 22 sectors, 18 industries reached an average capacity utilization rate of at least 60%. — AMPY