China's official purchasing mangers' index, a gauge of manufacturing sector performance, increased unexpectedly in March, easing concerns of a marked slowdown in economic growth in the world's second-largest economy, a key survey revealed.
The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), which conducts the survey on behalf of the National Bureau of Statistics, said on Sunday that the PMI improved to 53.1 in March from 51 in February. The reading was the highest since March last year.
Economists had expected the score to fall to 50.8. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion of the sector and a reading below 50 suggests contraction.
The improvement was mostly underpinned by a jump in new orders. The corresponding index rose by 4.1 points from a month earlier to 55.1. The new exports orders index increased by 0.8 point to 51.9. The production index rose 1.4 points to 55.2, CFLP said.
The purchasing price index was at 55.9, which was 1.9 points higher than the previous month's reading.
The final results of the HSBC/Markit Economics PMI survey, which was also published on Sunday, painted a pessimistic picture of the country's manufacturing industry. It showed manufacturing activity deteriorating for a fifth consecutive month.
The HSBC PMI fell to 48.3 from 49.6 in February, slightly better than flash reading of 48.1.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has vowed to "fine-tune" economic policies if needed. The government targets 7.5 percent economic growth this year, lower than the previous target of 8 percent. The economy expanded 9.2 percent in 2011 and 10.4 percent in 2010.
by RTT Staff Writer
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