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RP's manufacturing sector slows down

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) -- The country’s manufacturing sector slowed down with January's factory output declining by 19.9 percent on year, the National Statistics Office said today.

The NSO reported sharp declines in all major manufacturing sectors. Production of petroleum products, basic metals, furniture, paper, electrical machinery, apparel and chemical products all posted a double-digit drop in production as compared to last year's output. Only rubber, plastic and non-metallic mineral products registered a slight increase in production.

Most of the manufacturing firms surveyed by the NSO operated below its full capacity. Average capacity utilization in January 2009 for total manufacturing was estimated at 77.5 percent. Of the 300 companies surveyed, only 11.9 percent of the respondents were operating at a full 90- to 100-percent capacity utilization rate.

The downtrend in the Philippine manufacturing sector reflects the waning consumer demand owing to the global economic crisis. Analysts said manufacturers are cutting output in line with reduced demand.

The NSO said the volume of net sales index in January fell 17.7 percent on year. Textiles and furniture registered the biggest decline at over 40 percent.

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