Industrial production posted its fifth straight month of decline in April as well as suffering its biggest drop in almost a decade, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported 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 14% year on year in April versus the revised 9.5% decline in March and the 21% growth logged in April 2018.

The April reading marked the fifth straight month of decline and was the sector’s worst performance in almost a decade or since the 14.6% contraction in July 2009.

Year to date, the factory output decline averaged 9.1% compared to the 14.5% growth average in 2018’s comparable four months.

“The decrease in VoPI in April 2019 was influenced by the downward movements noted in 11 major industry groups of which seven industry groups registered two-digit annual declines in VoPI. These were tobacco products (-29.2%), leather products (-25.5%), petroleum products (-24.3%), food manufacturing (-20.6%), furniture and fixtures (-19.6%), basic metals (-16.2%), and transport equipment (-11.8%),” the PSA reported.

In comparison, the Nikkei Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.9 that month, easing from 51.5 in March.

A PMI reading above 50 signals improvement in business conditions from the preceding month, while a score below that point indicates deterioration.

Average capacity utilization — the extent by which industry resources are used in the production of goods — was estimated at 84.3%. Eleven of the 20 sectors registered capacity utilization rates of at least 80%. — MAM