By Yantoultra Ngui

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's manufacturing activity in November was slightly softer compared with October, signaling a deterioration in manufacturing conditions in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Nikkei manufacturing purchasing managers' index, a gauge of the factory activity, was at 47.1 in November versus 47.2 in October. A PMI reading below 50 indicates a contraction in manufacturing activity, while a reading above that signals an expansion.

The survey data released Thursday by IHS Markit pointed to worsening operating conditions in Malaysia's goods-producing sector.

The latest reading was lower than the long-run series average, according to IHS Markit. Production contracted for the 20th consecutive month in November, it said.

"The Malaysian manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate mid-way through the final quarter of 2016," said IHS Markit economist Amy Brownbill in a statement. "Total new orders contracted at the sharpest rate in the series history, driven partly by a fall in international demand."

She added that manufacturers' profit margins were hit harder, as input prices rose at the fastest rate in the series history. Margins were squeezed by greater raw-materials costs stemming from weakness in the Malaysian ringgit, she added.

Write to Yantoultra Ngui at yantoultra.ngui.wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 30, 2016 20:24 ET (01:24 GMT)

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