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Financial News: China Manufacturing Activity Continues To Expand

China Manufacturing Activity Continues To Expand

02/01/2024 - 03:20:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - China's factory sector continued to expand with sustained increases in output and new orders amid the improving sentiment, survey results from S&P Global showed on Thursday.

The Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, posted 50.8 in January, unchanged from December.

The manufacturing sector has strengthened for three straight months, to mark the longest period of continuous improvement for two-and-a-half years, the survey showed.

However, the official PMI survey data showed that the manufacturing contracted for the fourth consecutive month in January. The official manufacturing PMI registered 49.2, up from 49.0 in December.

At the same time, the non-manufacturing PMI advanced to 50.7 from 50.4 in the previous month.

Manufacturing output expanded for the third straight month in January with the latest growth little changed from December.

New business increased for the sixth straight month but the rate of growth slipped to the slowest since last October.

Despite a renewed improvement in foreign demand, total sales increased at a softer pace. Export orders rose for the first time since last June.

Manufacturers boosted their purchasing activity with the rate of growth the fastest since last August. Inventories of purchased inputs and finished items increased at the start of the year.

Supply chain performance increased for the third time in the past four months. Capacity pressures were also relatively muted as highlighted by a back-to-back decline in unfinished workloads.

As a result, firms trimmed their workforce numbers again at the start of the year. Nonetheless, the rate of job shedding moderated notably. Business confidence was the most pronounced in nine months, underpinned by stronger global demand, planned investment, new product releases and efforts to expand into new markets.

Inflationary pressures remained muted at the start of the year. Input costs rose at the slowest pace in five months.

Efforts to secure new business forced manufacturers to cut their own selling prices slightly in January.

Although China hit the growth target set in early 2023, economic growth in the final quarter was slower than the third quarter on a quarter-on-quarter basis, indicating that the recovery was losing momentum, Caixin Insight Group Senior Economist Wang Zhe said.

"Given there is still room for further adjustments in fiscal and monetary policies, policy measures need to be strengthened," the economist added.

Earlier this week, the <a href=https://www.rttnews.com/3420279/imf-says-soft-landing-likely.aspx target=_blank >International Monetary Fund</a> raised China's growth forecast for this year to 4.6 percent and the projection for next year was retained at 4.1 percent.

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