Manufacturing output improved slightly in May as reflected in the IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) when this rose to 40.1 from record-low of 31.6 a month earlier.
IHS Markit economist David Owen said the easing of quarantine measures helped build better business conditions as lesser restrictions in the movement of goods and services boosted confidence.
“The Philippines PMI signaled a softer decline in operating conditions across the manufacturing sector in May. The headline index picked up and was much higher than in April when the lockdown had its greatest impact on production,” Owen said.
But the survey found conditions still have not recovered, with restrictions in the capital and other cities broadly the same since April.
According to Owen, dropping employment numbers hamper demand conditions while price pressures begin to inflate in May as raw material prices rose.
“Raw materials prices rose slightly as reductions in global supply started to outweigh weaker demand and lead to difficulties in acquiring inputs. Output prices also increased, but firms tried to keep charge inflation low, hoping this would encourage an improvement in sales once demand conditions have returned to normal,” he said.
In a separate development, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recognized the efficiency of using e-commerce avenues that help drive economic growth amid the pandemic.
Acting NEDA Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said that businesses must learn to embrace and adopt technological advancements as e-commerce is seen playing a bigger role under the so-called new normal.
“Online shopping and marketing platforms will play a bigger role in the new normal as businesses and consumers increase the use of electronic transactions, including cashless payment systems and other financial technology platforms,” Chua said.
“Businesses need to innovate and make full use of technology to resume operations and later to consumer needs and preferences while still managing risks of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) infection,” he added.
According to Chua, enterprises should work to provide an easy, affordable and secure online shopping platform for consumers.
The passage of the Financial Consumer Protection Bill will provide the regulatory framework to protect the interest of financial consumers and boost confidence in financial markets.