India’s Nikkei Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector for August came in at 52.3, lower than July’s 52.7. But among emerging market Asian economies, apart from Vietnam, India’s manufacturing PMI was the only one that showed expansion from the previous month. All the other economies had readings below 50, which indicate a contraction in the manufacturing sector from the previous month. Indian manufacturing growth may be sluggish, but at least it’s growing.

Vietnam’s manufacturing PMI was 51.3, lower than India’s. Japan, which is a developed economy, had a manufacturing PMI of 51.7 for August, below India’s rate of expansion.

Here is a compilation of comments in the Markit press releases about the Asian PMIs for August:

China: The quickest deterioration in operating conditions for over six years.

Indonesia: Eleventh consecutive monthly deterioration in business conditions.

Vietnam: Output growth slows to 10-month low.

South Korea: A solid deterioration in operating conditions at manufacturers.

Taiwan: The fastest deterioration in overall operating conditions faced by manufacturers for 35 months.

Malaysia: The strongest deterioration in operating conditions at manufacturers in nearly three years.

India: At 52.3 in August, down from July’s six-month high of 52.7, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) pointed to a further, although weaker, improvement in the health of the sector.

The key takeaways from the data are:

1) The Asian region is seeing a huge slowdown, partly the result of the spluttering of their export-led growth model and partly the effect of the slowdown in China.

2) India stands out as a beacon of growth in Asia.

3) As Pollyanna de Lima, economist at Markit, points out about India: ‘As inflation concerns fade and demand growth loses momentum, further accommodative policy should not be discounted.’

In other words, a rate cut could further boost Indian growth.

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