Asian factories emerge from pandemic drag; tighter virus measures dim outlook
Factory activity in Asia advanced modestly in December, business polls showed on Monday. The expansion followed after China saw an increase in demand, indicating that manufacturers across the region are starting to recover from the initial damage of the coronavirus crisis.
China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was read at 53.0 in December. While the figure came as the weakest reading in three months, it still sits above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction.
While most factories advanced in Asia, growth in China’s manufacturing sector decelerated. This, together with tighter virus measures around the globe, dampened the outlook. Moreover, this brought in more pressure for Asian policymakers to retain or increase their stimulus schemes.