Dec 07 2009
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Confidence in manufacturing sector rising
"Manufacturing in many parts of the globe is picking up steam," said Dr Abdullah Al Zakwani, director, Industrial Innovation Centre (IIC), who is the keynote speaker at Smart Manufacturing, the annual conference of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates ( PEIE ), which will be inaugurated at Grand Hyatt Hotel today.
The conference is supported by Reem Batteries , Oman Cables , Al Mudhish, Origin Oman, Business Today and Times of Oman.
Around 150 leading local manufacturing practitioners will gather to listen to a series of keynotes and interactive panel discussions that will review current and future manufacturing trends and the impact of the global recession on industry.
Dr Al Zakwani pointed out that according to recent figures, China's purchasing managers index (PMI), a gauge of the country's manufacturing activities, rose at the fastest pace in 18 months in October when it expanded to 55.2, up from 54.3 in September. "This is the sixth consecutive month that China's PMI has increased, indicating economic recovery is steadily becoming more solid," said the IIC director, adding, "It's certainly domestic demand that's stimulating Chinese manufacturing, but I strongly suspect we'll see new export orders rise over the coming months. Indeed, the data we're seeing coming out of China, the US, Japan and Europe is all consistent with a gradual to moderate economic recovery. This has to bode well for Oman's manufacturing sector."
Germany, France and Japan have all returned to growth while Japan's manufacturing production also increased for a seventh consecutive month in September, extending the longest stretch of gains in 12 years.
Moreover, a recent survey which looked at confidence levels in the manufacturing sector over the next six months, showed 49.5 per cent of respondents were positive about the outlook for their business over the next half-year.
According to the research, almost a third of companies -- 29 per cent -- plan to increase R&D investment. "This renewed focus on R&D is critical to manufacturing and the sector's future growth," remarked Dr Al Zakwani.
Ibtisam Al Faruji, PEIE 's marketing director and organiser of Smart Manufacturing, said: "Although conditions for local manufacturers remain challenging, confidence levels have seen a significant increase over the past few months. The data we're seeing coming out of Asia and North America is very encouraging for local industry."
"Recovery will probably be a slow process but the sector is looking a lot healthier than most had expected," Al Faruji added.
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