October MPI close to pre-pandemic level

October MPI close to pre-pandemic level

Thailand's manufacturing production index (MPI) in October rose by 2.91% year-on-year to 97.99 points, close to the level recorded for the corresponding month in 2019 -- prior to the pandemic, as the industrial sector looks set to gain momentum, says the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).

The improved manufacturing outlook was attributed to various factors ranging from global economic recovery which boosted exports to the success in containing Covid-19 outbreaks in factories.

"We still need to keep a close watch on increasing energy prices and a new round of Covid-19 outbreaks in some foreign countries which led to re-enactment of lockdown measures," said Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.

For the first 10 months of this year, manufacturing was on the rise, with the MPI increasing by 5.93% year-on-year due mainly to export expansion for eight consecutive months, according to the OIE.

Thai export sector is expected to expand by 15-16% this year, said Mr Suriya.

Exports of industrial products in October alone increased by 13.8% to US$18 billion, said Thongchai Chawalitpichaet, chief of the OIE.

The capacity utilisation rate in October stood at 64% as manufacturing in key industries continued to expand.

The easing of lockdowns in many countries led to more economic activity, which also included more purchase orders for goods to be used during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, according to Mr Thongchai.

In October, car production, especially in pickup, small car and diesel-powered vehicle segments, rose by 6% year-on-year as the global semiconductor shortage became less severe and the government continued to drive the economy through stimulus measures.

Petroleum production also increased by 6.2% year-on-year following the easing of lockdown, while furniture manufacturing soared by 36.1% year-on-year, driven by purchase orders from the US, Europe and Japan.

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