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China Service Sector Growth Eases Modestly, HSBC/Markit Survey Shows

china 041213

A gauge of China's service sector performance declined slightly in November, signaling a slight slowdown in business activity, a survey by Markit Economics and HSBC revealed Wednesday.

The seasonally adjusted headline services business activity index edged down to 52.5 in November from 52.6 in October. However, the reading above 50 indicated continued expansion of activity in the sector.

The growth of new business at service providers was the weakest in four months, the survey found. However, service providers increased their staff levels for a third month in a row.

"Service sectors maintained a steady pace of growth in November, translating into the third consecutive month of employment expansion," HSBC chief economist Hongbin Qu said.

However, the moderation of growth in new business and output charges implies that the underlying growth momentum has started to soften, the economist added.

The composite output index, a gauge of business activity across the entire private sector including both services and manufacturing, increased to an eight-month high of 52.3 in November from 51.8 in October.

New orders rose for the fourth successive month at the composite level though at a slightly weaker pace than in October. Private sector employment was relatively unchanged from the previous month, the survey found.

Findings of a survey by China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, or CFLP, and the National Bureau of Statistics, published Tuesday, were consistent with today results.

The official survey showed the country's non-manufacturing, comprising both construction and services, expanded at a marginally slower pace than in October.

The manufacturing sector maintained relatively steady growth momentum in November, according to surveys released early this week.

China's economy expanded 7.8 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace this year, government data showed in October.

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