Manufacturing surveys released across the world this week may have given investors in Europe and the U.S. reason to cheer, but in Asia they only point to weakness and cement the case for further monetary stimulus, economists said.
In China, for example, both the official and a private gauge of manufacturing activity came in weaker rattling investors. China's official Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) slipped to 50.1 from 50.8 in May, while HSBC's final PMI reading fell to a nine-month low of 48.2.
Data on Monday also showed South Korea's manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in five months in June, as its economy continues to suffer the impacts of Japan's weakening currency. Taiwan also saw a slowdown in activity after its June PMI fell to 53.6 from 55.3, its third monthly decline. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
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In contrast, manufacturing data out of the U.S. and Europe showed a marked improvement. Europe's PMI hit a 16-month high of 48.8 in June and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) in the U.S. said its index of national factory activity in June rose to 50.9 from 49 in May.
Analysts told CNBC, the worrying decline in Asian manufacturing data could prompt central banks to start loosening policy.
"Asian central banks should be thinking of stimulating soon," said Tim Condon, head of research for Asia at ING Financial Markets, talking about the Asia PMI surveys.
"They've been unable to do it in the past few months due to the panic in the markets, but that's fading now," he added.
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According to Vishnu Varathan, market economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank: "[In] Taiwan and South Korea there is definitely scope to cut interest rates and they are more likely to do so if exports continue to be subdued. Especially in South Korea, if the Japanese yen weakens further then this will strengthen the case to cut rates."