Shortages, shipping, shutdowns hit Asian factory output

Sep 30, 2021, 5:14 AM | Updated: 10:14 pm
FILE - In this April 27, 2020, file photo, employees of a private delivery company sort out parcels...

FILE - In this April 27, 2020, file photo, employees of a private delivery company sort out parcels at a distribution center in Beijing. Shortages of power, computer chips and other parts, soaring shipping costs and shutdowns of factories to battle the pandemic are taking a toll on Asian economies. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

(AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Shortages of power, computer chips and other parts, soaring shipping costs and shutdowns of factories to battle the pandemic are taking a toll on Asian economies.

While business sentiment is improving in some parts of Asia as governments begin easing restrictions put in place to curb coronavirus infections, there is mounting evidence that such disruptions are slowing a return to business as usual.

A quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan released Friday showed sentiment among manufacturers at its highest level in nearly three years. The survey found companies plan to raise investment more than earlier forecast, but that shortages of components were disrupting production.

That dovetailed with data released Thursday that showed Japan’s factory output fell 3.2% in August from the month before. That followed a 1.5% decline in July.

Automakers and producers of IT products and other electrical machinery were the hardest hit.

Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. became the latest automaker to idle production lines for a few extra days due to shortfalls in components. Suzuki said in a statement that it expected to suspend operations at a factory in central Japan for an extra three days and to do the same two days at another factory.

While there are signs of improvement in some parts of Asia, “fresh peaks for new daily cases in some countries and relatively slow progress in vaccination rollouts in Southeast Asia mean the risks of semiconductor and other component shortages could persist for an extended period,” Harumi Taguchi of IHS Markit said in a commentary.

Japan’s retail sales fell a much worse than expected 4.1% in August from a month earlier due to weak demand for clothing and appliances.

In another sign of slowing activity, surveys of factory managers also showed Chinese manufacturing slowing.

The manufacturing purchasing managers index, or PMI, fell to 49.6 in September from 50.1 in August on a 0-100 scale where 50 marks the break between expansion and contraction.

The survey was conducted before power shortages began causing factories in some parts of China to begin suspending operations.

The weakest readings were in energy intensive areas such as chemicals and metals, Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report.

“Respondents to the surveys noted that material shortages and transportation delays were still holding back output,” he said.

Surging demand for computers and other equipment for remote work has strained supplies of the microchips that run them.

Shortages of shipping containers and occasional shutdowns of ports due to COVID-19 outbreaks also have caused bottlenecks throughout global supply chains.

“Chinese and South-east Asian ports are still suffering the consequences of those earlier closures, with record queues of ships waiting to unload,” Rabobank said in a report on the shipping industry.

It estimated that 10% of global container capacity was waiting offshore for unloading.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

India asks Starlink to obtain license for internet services

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian government has asked Starlink Internet Services of Elon Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company to comply with the country’s regulatory framework before offering its satellite-based internet services. A Communications Ministry statement late Friday said that because Starlink is not the holder of a license, the public is advised not to subscribe […]
4 hours ago
A sign reading 'Stay safe' in Regent Street, in London, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. A slew of nations mo...
Associated Press

High alert: World scurries to contain new COVID variant

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — With each passing hour, new restrictions were being slapped on travel from countries in southern Africa as the world scurried Saturday to contain a new variant of the coronavirus that has the potential to be more resistant to the protection offered by vaccines. A host of countries, including Australia, Brazil, […]
4 hours ago
Andreia Sampaio sits at her computer as she works from home, in Lisbon, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. Port...
Associated Press

Workers’ paradise? Portugal’s new teleworking law takes flak

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s new law on working from home makes the European Union country sound like a workers’ paradise. Companies can’t attempt to contact their staff outside working hours. They must help staff pay for their home gas, electric and internet bills. Bosses are forbidden from using digital software to track what their […]
4 hours ago
FILE - Democrat Beto O'Rourke waits to speak during a campaign stop Nov. 16, 2021, in San Antonio. ...
Associated Press

Can Biden find the right balance on immigration?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats wielded demands to fix the nation’s broken immigration system as a cudgel against Republicans in the 2020 campaign. Elect us, went the argument, and we’ll stop the cruel treatment of migrants at the border, and put in place lasting and humane policies that work. A year into Joe Biden’s presidency, though, […]
1 day ago
The website for Suncity Group is seen on a computer screen in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 27, 20...
Associated Press

Macao detains Suncity boss on China gambling charge

BEIJING (AP) — Macao police on Saturday detained the head of Macao’s biggest casino junket organizer and others after Chinese authorities issued an arrest warrant for them over accusations that they ran an illegal cross-border gambling syndicate. The arrests in the gambling enclave came after prosecutors in Wenzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, on […]
1 day ago
People line up to get on the Air France flight to Paris at OR Tambo International Airport in Johann...
Associated Press

South African scientists brace for wave propelled by omicron

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — As the world grapples with the emergence of the new highly transmissible variant of COVID-19, worried scientists in South Africa — where omicron was first identified — are scrambling to combat its lightning spread across the country. In the space of two weeks, the omicron variant has sent South Africa from a […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
Shortages, shipping, shutdowns hit Asian factory output