China Manufacturing Gauge Rose in December, Beating Expectations

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BEIJING – An official gauge of China’s manufacturing beat market expectations as activity continued to expand sharply in December amid improving market demand and falling raw material prices.

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China’s National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday that the official Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.3 in December from 50.1 in November.

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The result beat the 50.0 average forecast made by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal and stayed above the 50 mark, which separates activity expansion from contraction for the second month in a row.

Government measures introduced to stabilize prices and help businesses began to kick in this month when some commodity prices fell, relieving cost pressures for manufacturers, the Bureau of Statistics said.

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The subindex, which measures total new orders, increased from 49.4 in November to 49.7, while the production subindex decreased to 51.4 in December, compared to 52 in November. The subindex, which measures new export orders, declined to 48.1 from 48.5 in November.

Also released on Friday was the official non-manufacturing PMI, which covers service and manufacturing activity in China. The non-manufacturing PMI rose to 52.7 in November as compared to 52.3.

The Bureau of Statistics said the subindex measuring service activity rose to 52 this month from 51.1 in November, as the airline, catering and entertainment sectors recovered from the coronavirus shock in November.

The subindex measuring construction activity declined to 56.3 compared to November’s 59.1, as construction was weighed down by factors of cold weather and holidays.

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