July 5, 2020

Manufacturing Growth Slows in China

The index, which was based on a survey of purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector and was released by HSBC, was 50.5 points for April. That exceeded 50, the level that separates expansion from contraction, but fell below the 51.6 points recorded for March.

The release is one of the earliest measures of business activity available for April and appears to indicate that an unexpected growth slowdown in the first quarter may be continuing into the second.

China’s first-quarter growth data, released by the authorities in Beijing last week, surprised analysts who said they had thought that the economy picked up speed in January, February and March. Instead, expansion slowed to 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent the previous quarter.

The manufacturing survey released Tuesday reinforced the view that the pace of growth was unlikely to pick up again in the current quarter.

“The overall message” from the release “is that there was some improvement in the manufacturing sector” around the start of the fourth quarter of 2012, but that “the momentum then stalled” in the first quarter of this year, wrote Yao Wei, China economist at Société Générale in Hong Kong.

Investors, unnerved by the disappointing reading, sent the mainland China stock market down 2.6 percent on Tuesday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 1.1 percent.

Weakening demand for exports bears part of the blame. Orders for new exports contracted in April after rebounding in March, suggesting that external demand for China’s exporters remained weak, Qu Hongbin, an HSBC economist who specializes in China, said.

Weaker overall demand has also started to weigh on employment in the manufacturing sector and is likely to prompt Beijing to respond with efforts to increase domestic investment and consumption, Mr. Qu added in a statement accompanying the index.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/business/global/manufacturing-growth-in-china-slows.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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