SE Asian and Chinese manufacturers perk up

Chinese manufacturers and theirJapanese and South Korean counterparts continued their recovery from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic last month, with businesses in China reporting the fastest expansion of output and new orders since January 2011. The Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which gives an independent snapshot of the country’s manufacturing sector rose to 52.8  in July from 51.2 in the previous month; any number above 50 signals an expansion in activity, while a reading below that indicates a contraction.
Both Japan’s and South Korea’s economies also appear to be showing signs of recovery. In Japan, the latest au Jibun Bank Flash Manufacturing PMI indicates that factory activity contracted at the slowest pace in five months in July, in a sign that pressures on manufacturers were beginning to ease.
Official data recently released by the authorities in Seoul also gave cause for optimism, with the value of South Korean exports for June slowing by 7% year-on-year compared to 20% in the previous two months. The country’s export-dependent economy  is seen as a benchmark for the region and has been largely kept afloat by its computer chips manufacturers who – along with their peers in Taiwan – have seen demand hold thanks to a boom in online activity fuelled by home working and a dramatic increase in streaming and gaming by the millions of children, teenagers – and adults – with not much else to do during lockdown.