MANILA -- Malacañang on Monday welcomed the report which showed the Philippines taking the lead in manufacturing activity among ASEAN member states.

“The good news is that the Philippine manufacturing sector is ahead of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a Palace briefing.

Citing figures from the Nikkei Philippine Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), the Palace official said the country’s manufacturing sector got a score of 53.7 for the month of October, which is higher than last month’s score of 50.8.

“This makes the Philippines on top of ASEAN countries in overall growth ranking in manufacturing sector,” Roque said.

The PMI, the composite indicator of manufacturing performance, is tracked monthly by IHS Markit for Nikkei, Inc.

A PMI reading above 50 suggests improvement in business conditions from the preceding month, while a score below that signals deterioration.

According to the report, the country’s October score of 53.7 marked a “solid increase” from its September ratings.

The Philippines was followed by Vietnam, which has a score of 51.6 and Singapore with 51.3.

ASEAN as a whole has a score of 50.4.

“The growth in manufacturing sector is attributed to the strengthened domestic demand and sustained and maintained export sales, increased volumes of firm production and availability of more capital,” Roque said.

The manufacturing PMI consists of five sub-indices, with new orders having the biggest weight at 30 percent, followed by output (25 percent), employment (20 percent), suppliers’ delivery times (15 percent) and stocks of purchases (10 percent).

According to the report, the Philippines manufacturing economy showed greater signs of activity at the start of the fourth quarter, noting that “signs of strengthening demand emerged in October.”

The fourth quarter usually sees a pickup in household consumption as the Christmas holidays approach.

The report also noted that “growth in both output and new orders picked up noticeably, prompting firms to step up input purchases and hiring.”

“Anticipating greater demand, companies also built up stocks of inputs and finished goods, while increased staff numbers helped them keep on top of workloads,” the report said.

Meanwhile, the report said that overseas demand for Philippines’ products was up for a second straight month during October.

Employment in the Philippines’ manufacturing sector also rose at the start of the fourth quarter in the face of increased production requirements. (PNA)