Korea’s manufacturing PMI at a high

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Korea’s manufacturing PMI at a high

Korea’s manufacturing activity expanded in January at its most aggressive pace in eight months, a private-sector survey showed on Monday, tracking a pick-up in new export orders and a testament to the economy’s increasing momentum.

The HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of Korea’s manufacturing sector rose to a seasonally adjusted 50.9 in January, from 50.8 in December, Markit Economics said, marking its highest reading since May and the sixth consecutive monthly gain.

The index also stood above the 50 mark in separating growth from contraction for the fourth straight month, underscoring continued improvement in manufacturing activity with data showing that December’s factory output grew at its fastest pace in four and a half years.

The sub-index for new export orders grew to a seasonally adjusted 51.8, from 50.7 in December, signaling growing external demand.

“Manufacturing conditions continue to improve in Korea, boosted by stronger new orders on the external front,” HSBC economist Ronald Man said in a statement. “Payrolls also expanded for the third consecutive month. This suggests that Korea is on track for a gradual export-led recovery.”

Government data showed on Saturday that Korea’s exports shrank by an annual 0.2 percent last month as the Lunar New Year holiday break reduced the number of working days.

Average exports value per day last month stood at $2.07 billion, easing slightly from $2.09 billion in December and suggesting no serious deterioration in underlying external demand for local manufacturers.

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