Manufacturing conditions in Singapore improved further in the first month of the year, making its fifth consecutive rise and the strongest in more than two years, helped by increased new orders, new exports, industrial output and inventory holding, the Singapore Institute Of Purchasing & Materials Management said on Thursday.
The Manufacturing PMI increased to 51 in January of 2017, its highest since November 2014, from 50.6 in the previous month.
Separately, the PMI for electronics sector rose to 51.8 from 51.2 in December, indicating further strengthening of the sector.
The SIPMM said all the sub-indicators increased in January, indicating a broad-based expansion in the sector. Manufacturing employment has reverted to a marginal expansion after recording contractions since November 2014.
Electronics imports and input prices recorded faster rate of expansion but electronics inventory and finished goods have expanded at slower rate.
The order backlog index gained 0.9 point and reverted to a marginal expansion, whilst electronic supplier deliveries contracted at a faster rate, the SIPMM said.
The Nikkei PMI data will be released on 3 February and the consensus is for a marginal rise to 52.4 in January from the previous month's 52.0.
The Singapore dollar strengthened to 1.4086 from the previous close of 1.4122. The Singdollar had fetched an 80-day high of 1.4068 against the greenback on Jan 31.
USD/SGD has been on a downtrend since January, helping a 2.7% rally in the local dollar in the first month of the year. If the trend to continue, then the pair will next target 1.3965 and then 1.3818 as immediate near term supports.
The US dollar was down broadly amid mixed data from the world's largest economy. EUR/USD has risen to 1.08300, its highest since mid-November on a daily closing basis. The next resistance levels are 1.0851 followed by 1.1097.
US initial jobless claims fell to 246,000 for the week ending Jan 28 from 260,000 in the previous week, better than the consensus number of 250,000, data showed on Thursday.
However, Job cuts increased to 45,900 in January from from 33,600 in December while analysts had been expecting a decline to 30,400, as per the latest report by Challenger, Grey & Christmas.
Another data showed that unit labour costs rose 1.7% sequentially in the fourth quarter, much faster than the 0.2% growth in the previous quarter, but slower than the consensus forecast of 1.9% rise.
However, the non-farm productivity growth has slowed to 1.3% from 3.5% against analysts' forecast of 1% rise.