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Financial News: China's Manufacturing Sector Growth Eases Slightly

China's Manufacturing Sector Growth Eases Slightly

04/01/2017 - 01:49:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - China's manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in March as both production and new orders growth eased since February, survey results from IHS Markit showed Saturday.

The Caixin factory Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 51.2 from 51.7 in February. Nonetheless, a reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

Although pointing to only a moderate rate of improvement, the latest reading remained amongst the highest seen over the past four years, survey showed.

Meanwhile, data published by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed Friday that the official factory PMI rose to 51.8 in March from 51.6 in February. This was the highest since April 2012.

Likewise, the non-manufacturing PMI climbed to 55.1, the highest since May 2014.

Manufacturers increased their production for the ninth consecutive month in March, IHS Markit said. That said, the pace of expansion edged down from February.

In line with the trend in production, new order growth eased marginally in March. A softer increase in new export work was the key factor leading to weaker growth in total orders.

Meanwhile, staffing levels continued on a downward trend. The rate of payroll cuts held close to February's marginal pace.

Reflecting slower growth in production, firms expanded their purchasing activity at a slower pace.

Manufacturers signaled a further slowdown in the rate of input price inflation at the end of the first quarter, though the rate of increase remained sharp overall.

Output charges also increased in March, albeit at the slowest pace in six months. Optimism towards the one-year business outlook slipped from February's recent peak, but remained strong overall.

"Overall, the Chinese manufacturing economy continued to improve, but signs of a weakening have started to emerge ahead of the second quarter. Downward pressure may further increase," Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, said.

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