October 3, 2016 / 1:12 PM / in 10 months

Singapore September factory activity expands for first time in 15 months

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New cars are parked at PSA's Tanjong Pagar terminal in Singapore September 9, 2016.Edgar Su/Files

REUTERS - Activity at Singapore's factories expanded in September for the first time in 15 months as new orders rose, though the gain was marginal, a private survey showed on Monday.

The Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 50.1 from 49.8 in August.

While the rate of expansion was slight, it marked the end of 14 straight months of contraction as sluggish global demand weighs on Asian exporters. A reading above the 50-level suggests expansion, while one below that points to contraction.

"The marginal expansion was attributed to higher readings in new orders, new exports and factory output," the institute said in a statement.

The PMI for the key electronics sector climbed to 50.3 in September from 50.2 in August.

The modest improvement in manufacturing activity comes ahead of the central bank's monetary policy meeting later this month.

Activity at factories in China, Singapore's top export market, also expanded modestly, an official survey showed on Sunday, which may indicate that recent positive momentum can be sustained.

Reporting by Jongwoo Cheon; Editing by Kim Coghill

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