FACTORY OUTPUT declined for the fifth straight month in July, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported earlier this morning.

Preliminary results of the PSA’s latest Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries showed factory output, as measured by the Volume of Production Index (VoPI), contracting by 11.9% year-on-year in July.

The decline was slower than the 12.5% decline recorded in June, but faster compared to the minus 8.5% reading in July 2019.

Year to date, the decline in factory output averaged 12.1% compared to the 8.8% decline in 2019’s comparable seven months.

In a statement, the PSA said the VoPI’s slower downtrend in July compared to June was brought about by the increases in the indices of three industry groups: petroleum products (400% in July from 16.1% in June); wood and wood products (14.4% from 19.9%); and chemical products (0.1% from 6.3%).

Seventeen out of 20 industry groups registered negative production in July with seven posting slower declines: footwear and wearing apparel (-33% from -41.4%); beverages (-21.4% from -22.7%); non-metallic mineral products (-19.4% from -29.9%); printing (-34.4% from -58.2%); miscellaneous manufactures (-7.2% from -18.8%); basic metals (-1.9% from -3.8%); and leather products (-28.1% from -36.4%).

Average capacity utilization — the extent to which industry resources are used in the production of goods — averaged 75.4% in July. Only seven of the 20 sectors registered capacity utilization rates of at least 80%. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona