Malaysia's Jan industrial output up 7%, slightly below forecast

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 12): Malaysia's industrial production index (IPI) rose 7% in January 2015 from a year earlier on increases in all three components – manufacturing, mining and electricity – of the output gauge.

The IPI's year-on-year increase came in slightly below a median forecast of a 7.4% rise based on a Reuters market survey.

According to a Statistics Department's statement today, manufacturing registered a 6.5% increase in output, mining  was up 8.3% while electricity posted a 6.3% rise.

Increased manufacturing output was underpinned by higher production of electrical and electronics (E&E) products, petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products as well as non-metallic mineral products, basic metal and fabricated metal products.

In the mining sector, the crude oil index rose 16.7% while the natural gas index fell 0.6%.

The electricity sector recorded an increase of 6.3% from a year ago.

Month-on-month, the IPI fell 1% in January due to lower output in the manufacturing (1.2%) and mining (0.4%) sectors.

Only the electricity index recorded an increase of 2.3% from December 2014.

A Reuters market forecast had earlier placed January factory output at 7.4% y-o-y, partly supported by a lower base in the same month of 2014 as the Chinese New Year holidays fell in January last year, but was in February this year.