By Yantoultra Ngui

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's manufacturing activity remained unchanged in December compared with November, signalling a deterioration in conditions for local manufacturers for the 21st consecutive month.

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

The survey data released Tuesday by IHS Markit pointed to the sharpest rise in input prices since the survey began in July 2012. The weak Malaysian ringgit was reportedly the driver of the rise of raw material cost, it added.

An unstable economy and a fall in new work inflows were behind the decrease in production, according to the survey. The latest reading also showed new exports contracted for sixth straight months in Malaysia, it said.

"The end of the final quarter of 2016 saw the Malaysian manufacturing sector remain in contraction territory," said IHS Markit economist Amy Brownbill in a statement.

She added that the weakness of the ringgit continued to weigh heavily on producers' cost burdens. Consumer price is expected to strengthen over the new year, as manufacturers try to pass on their additional costs, she said.

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

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

January 02, 2017 20:11 ET (01:11 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.