SINGAPORE (Feb 5): Singapore's factory activity rose for the 15th consecutive month in January, accelerating from December and climbing at its fastest pace in eight years, a survey showed on Friday.

The Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 53.1 in January after slipping to 52.8 in December. This is highest index reading since December 2009 when it hit 53.3.

"The outlook for the year ahead remains positive, boding well for employment prospects," says Bernard Aw, an economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the PMI survey for Nikkei.

A reading below 50 suggests contraction, while one above that level points to expansion.

"The improved reading was attributed to a faster rate of expansion in factory output, new orders, new exports, and inventory," the institute says in a statement.

The PMI for the electronics sector saw a further slowing to 52.9, decelerating from 53.2 in December.

"Electronics order backlog contracted for the first time after expanding for 12 consecutive months," the institute says, adding that anecdotal evidence suggests "that electronics manufacturers remained optimistic of continued growth."

This comes after Singapore's factories posted their biggest on-year output decline in two years in December, driven by a slump in pharmaceuticals production while growth in the city-state's hot electronics manufacturing slowed.