Beijing, Mar 31 (efe-epa).- China’s manufacturing industry grew in March as the Purchasing Manager Index jumped to 52 points, from 35.7 in February, when it registered a slump caused by the novel coronavirus, according to official data Tuesday.
The figure, released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics, represents the highest growth in the last 12 months and the fastest since September 2017.
It also exceeded the predictions of analysts, who expected a recovery of up to 45 points, but without returning to the growth trajectory.
An index reading above 50 signifies expansion, while a reading below this means contraction.
In February, the coronavirus crisis caused a decline in manufacturing even greater than the 38.8 points it recorded in November 2008, during the global economic crisis.
In a breakdown by size, large firms recorded a growth of 16.3 points to 52.6 in March, medium ones grew by 16 points to 51.5, and small ones by 16.8 points to 50.9.
The five sub-indices for production recorded increases of between 15.1 and 26.3 points: the production index stood at 54.1 points, new orders at 52, employment at 50.9, delivery time taken by suppliers at 48.2, and raw material supplies at 49.
Growth was also recorded in businesses unrelated to manufacturing, which climbed to 52.3 points from 29.6 points in February, when it recorded the only contraction since this index was first calculated in 2007.
The services sector, which accounts for more than half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, gained 27.1 points in March reaching 51.8.
According to he bureau, all businesses except those related to financial and monetary services and capital market services – which remained in the expansion zone – contributed to the bounce back.
The index on economic activity expectation, which measures the confidence of non-manufacturing companies in future market development, increased by 17.3 points to 57.3, which – according to the bureau – indicated a recovery in confidence in the latest developments in the market.
The comprehensive production index, combining manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries, jumped back to 53 from 28.9 points.
However, the bureau said this month’s results did not mean China’s economic activity had returned to normal levels, as there were companies that had not resumed operating being compelled to stop due to the impact of COVID-19, which has left at least 3,305 people dead in the country. EFE-EPA