The Bank Indonesia building on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta. ( )

Bank Indonesia (BI) released on Thursday a report on the performance of the manufacturing sector in the first quarter of 2019, reflected in the prompt manufacturing index (PMI-BI), which was recorded at 52.62 percent, higher than the 52.58 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.

According to the business activity survey conducted by BI in the first quarter, the net weighted balance (SBT), an indicator used to reflect business sentiment and direction, in the manufacturing sector was recorded at 1 percent, higher than the 0.32 percent recorded in the previous quarter.

The figure was in line with the purchasing managers index (PMI) issued by Nikkei Indonesia. “Nikkei Indonesia’s purchasing managers index also indicates the expansion in the manufacturing sector, which was recorded at 50.40,” BI said in the report as quoted by

Previously, Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto said the Nikkei’s MPI in March was recorded at 51.2, up from 50.1 the previous month. It was also higher than the average PMI in other ASEAN countries, which stood at 50.3.

According to the central bank, the expansion in the manufacturing sector was seen in all component indexes — the order volume index (54.04 percent), the production volume index (53.49 percent) and the goods stock volume index (53.29 percent).

BI said the increase in the order volume index was triggered by an increase in domestic demand ahead of Ramadhan and Idul Fitri. BI estimated that all component indexes would continue to increase in the second quarter of 2019.

“Increasing production has also positively affected the demand for manpower. The manpower index in the first quarter increased to 51.22 percent from 48.92 in the fourth quarter of 2018,” BI said.

The most positive index was in the paper and printing subsector, which was recorded at 54.06 percent, while the food, beverage and tobacco subsector was recorded at 52.19 percent, the BI report said, adding that the index of the cement industry and non-metal mining goods was recorded at 50.53 percent.

BI projected that the PMI-BI would increase to 53.21 percent, indicating further expansion in the manufacturing sector. This was in line with the projected growth in the manufacturing sector, with the SBT projected to reach 3.73 percent. (bbn)