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Stronger industrial output expected [10-01-2012]  
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Industrial output for November is expected to improve, mostly due to base effects, said economists.

A Business Times poll expects the Industrial Production (IP) Index, which measures changes to the manufacturing, electricity and mining sectors, to post a 3.17 per cent average growth.

The Statistics Department will release the data today.

United States investment bank CITI said the manufacturing IP would likely see some acceleration on base effects as well as some bright spots in the overall manufacturing activity.

"The Malaysian Automotive Association recorded a smaller decline in the number of passenger cars produced in November at -5.5 per cent year-on-year, compared with -6.3 per cent in October."

It said the critical electrical and electronics sector could see a slower rate of decline, mirroring trends in some regional peers.

Electricity IP could also accelerate on base effects, the bank added.

According to DBS Bank economist Irvin Seah, a low base at the same period last year had provided some technical lift.

Global demand is expected to languish against a backdrop of rising external headwinds, including sovereign debt risks from the eurozone.

"The key electronics industry is bleeding against a disappointing festive season demand and with no respite in sight," he said.

Such global uncertainties will continue to weigh on the performance of the industrial sector in the coming months, despite some signs of improvement in the US economy.

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