Manufacturing ticks up again in August

Manufacturing ticks up again in August

Industrial sector passes lowest point

Cars in a row at an assembly plant. The manufacturing production index improved for the fourth straight month in August. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Cars in a row at an assembly plant. The manufacturing production index improved for the fourth straight month in August. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thailand's manufacturing production index (MPI) in August rose for the fourth consecutive month, increasing by 4.8% from July to 91.43 points, reaffirming the reeling industrial sector has made it through its lowest point.

The increase, which was mainly driven by high demand for fertilisers, home appliances and canned food as well as furniture exports, follows a prediction by Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, who earlier said Thai industry has rebounded.

Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) chief Thongchai Chawalitpichaet said the government's economic stimulus packages have also begun to have a positive effect on MPI.

"The industrial sector is slowly recovering," he said.

"The government believes it has passed the nadir and will return to normal soon."

The OIE said capacity utilisation in August also increased to 60.6% from 57.5% in July. From January to August this year, capacity utilisation stood at 59.6%.

Many economic rehabilitation schemes, including the "We Travel Together" tourism campaign and job retention measures, will help boost the economy, the OIE said.

"The government recently held Job Expo 2020 to help stimulate employment," said Mr Thongchai.

The move should eventually help people regain their purchasing power, he said.

According to the OIE, the fertiliser business continued to expand in August by 66.7% year-on-year as farmers need more products for their farms, notably rice paddies, during the rainy season.

Manufacture of home appliances, including microwaves, thermoses and refrigerators, also increased by 23.6% year-on-year as many people preferred to stay home to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19, said Mr Thongchai.

Demand for the products increased domestically and overseas, notably in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as Japan.

Canned seafood, especially tuna, also expanded by 10.4% year-on-year because of global demand growth during the pandemic.

Furniture manufacturing, especially those made of wood and metal materials, expanded by 10.7% thanks to demand growth in overseas markets including Japan.

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