China Economy

Non-manufacturing sector rises at fastest pace in four months in China

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 2:48am

The mainland's non-manufacturing industries expanded last month at the fastest pace in four months, adding to the signs of economic recovery.

The official purchasing managers' index for non-manufacturing industries rose to 56.1 from 55.6 in November, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said yesterday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion and one below contraction.

The steady rise in the index is more proof that the mainland economy is picking up and may continue to do so in the coming months, economists said.

The official manufacturing PMI was 50.6 last month, the third consecutive month of expansion and unchanged from November. The HSBC PMI rose to 51.5 from 50.5 to reach the highest since May 2011.

Construction activities were a major driver for the service industries, and the index for the sector rose 0.6 to 61.9. The increase was largely because of the government fast-tracking the approval of infrastructure projects and bond offerings since the middle of last year to drive investment growth.

The indices for the information-technology, retailing, telecommunications and broadcasting industries were also above 60, reflecting relatively fast growth in these sectors. By contrast, the transport, hotel, environment protection and public facility management industries showed a slowing trend.

The service sector accounted for about 43 per cent of gross domestic product in 2010 and surpassed agriculture last year to provide the most new jobs during the year.

"The economy and its asset markets will remain in a sweet spot in the first half of 2013. The government will continue its pro-growth policy stance to withstand weak external demand," Bloomberg quoted Bank of America chief greater China economist Lu Ting as saying.

According to the official PMI report, new orders for non-manufacturing industries continued to increase. Demand for information-technology, telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services was strong while that for the construction industry softened.

The report also said the overall outlook for non-manufacturing industries was bullish and the forecast for airlines, retailing and construction sectors was especially optimistic.