Tech demand drives Asia’s factory revival

TOKYO: Solid demand for technology goods drove extended growth in Asia’s factories in February, but a slowdown in China underscored the challenges facing the region as it seeks a sustainable recovery from the shattering Covid-19 pandemic blow.
The vaccine rollouts globally and pick-up in demand provided optimism for a vast number of businesses that had grappled for months with a cash-flow crunch and falling profits.
In Japan, manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in over two years while South Korea’s exports rose for a fourth straight month in February, suggesting the region’s export-reliant economies were benefiting from robust global trade.
In South Korea, a regional exports bellwether, shipments jumped 9.5 per cent in February from a year earlier for its fourth straight month of increase on continued growth in memory chip and car sales.
India’s factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in February on strong demand and increased output, though a spike in input costs could weigh on corporate profits ahead.
The Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam also saw manufacturing activity expand in February, a sign the region was gradually recovering from the initial hit of the pandemic. — Reuters