China's manufacturing activity accelerated in April, led by an expansion in production and new export orders, the latest survey by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) showed Tuesday.
The official purchasing managers' index, which is compiled by CFLP on behalf of the National Bureau of Statistics, rose to 53.3 in April from 53.1 in March. Economists had forecast an increase to 53.6.
A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion of the sector and a reading below 50 suggests contraction. The CFLP index has now expanded for five consecutive months.
The production index rose to 57.2 in April from 55.2 in March. The new export orders index advanced to 52.2 from 51.9.
On the other hand, the indicator for overall new orders declined to 54.5 from 55.1 in the previous month. This, along with an expansion in orders from overseas meant that there was a slight weakening in domestic demand.
The purchasing price index also declined during the month, suggesting lower input prices pressures compared to March. The relevant index fell to 54.8 from 55.9.
The official data contradicts the PMI figures from Markit Economics, which showed a sixth consecutive month of contraction in manufacturing activity in April. The HSBC/Markit PMI was below 50 at 49.1 in April. However, the rate of contraction was weaker than in March, according to Markit's preliminary report published on April 23.
The Chinese economy expanded at the weakest pace in nearly three years in the first quarter of 2012, mounting pressure on the government for continued policy action to support economic activity. The gross domestic product expanded 8.1 percent year-on-year in the March quarter.
Earlier in March, the Chinese government trimmed its GDP forecast for 2012 to 7.5 percent.
International lending agencies have acknowledged the slowdown in China and trimmed their growth forecast for the nation. The World Bank has lowered its 2012 GDP forecast for China to 8.2 percent from 8.4 percent, citing a pronounced deceleration in investment growth, slowing consumption growth and weak external demand.
The Asian Development Bank slashed its growth projection for China to 8.5 percent in 2012 from 9.1 percent. The International Monetary Fund forecast China to grow 8.2 percent this year and 8.8 percent next year.
by RTT Staff Writer
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