Asia’s Factory Activity Dips in May on China’s Strict Zero-Covid Policy

Manufacturing in Asia slowed in May as China’s strict zero-COVID policy disrupted supply chains and dampened demand, adding to woes for those countries already battling with rising commodities prices. 

Economies ranging from Japan to Taiwan and Malaysia are seeing a slowdown in factory activity, according to business surveys released on Wednesday, highlighting the challenges faced by many nations in implementing monetary policy to combat inflationary pressure.

A private study revealed that China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 48.1 in May from 46.0 in April, but remained below the 50-point threshold that separates contraction from expansion.

Meanwhile, industrial activity in Japan rose at the slowest rate in three months in May to 53.3 from the previous month’s 53.5, as a result of China’s lockdowns and the Ukraine conflict.

Similarly, factory activity in the Philippines declined to 54.1 in May from 54.3 in April, while in Malaysia it decreased to 50.1 from 51.6 in April. Taiwan’s manufacturing activity stood at 50.0 in May, down from 51.7 from April.