PMI rebounds as factories ramp up production

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China's manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories cranked up production after a brief lull during the Lunar New Year holidays.
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China’s manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories cranked up production after a brief lull during the Lunar New Year holidays, with improving global demand adding further momentum to a solid economic recovery.

The purchasing managers’ index for China’s manufacturing sector came in at 51.9 in March, edging up from 50.6 in February, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.

Commenting on the rise, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said the accelerated recovery of factory activity after the Spring Festival holiday led to the boom in the manufacturing sector, adding that 17 out of the 21 subsectors tracked by the bureau saw their PMI remain in the expansion zone in March.

The sub-index for production stood at 53.9 in March, up 2 points from a month earlier, while that for new orders rose 2.1 points to 53.6, which indicates faster expansion of production and demand in the sector.

Exports and imports in the manufacturing industry returned to the expansion zone in March, with the new export order and import sub-indexes hitting 51.2 and 51.1, respectively, up from 48.8 and 49.6 in February.

Zhao attributed the rebound to the faster increase in production and demand, as well as the continued recovery of major economies around the world.

The data also showed that the PMI for China’s non-manufacturing sector came in at 56.3 in March, up from 51.4 in February. The sub-index for business activities in the service sector stood at 55.2, up from 50.8 in February, which reflects a faster recovery in the service sector, as epidemic control efforts paid off and consumption demand continued to increase, said Zhao.

A sub-index for activity in the construction sector stood at 62.3 compared with 54.7 in February.

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