Beijing, Sep 30 (efe-epa).- China’s Purchasing Manager Index (PMI), an indicator of the economic health for the manufacturing and service sectors, stood at 51.5 points in September, extending its growth streak for the seventh consecutive month, according to official data released on Wednesday.
The figure beat the expectations of analysts, who had predicted a PMI of 51.2 points for this month.
An index reading above 50 signifies expansion, while a reading below this means contraction.
The figure, released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), shows a rapid recovery of the sector after the indicator plummeted to 35.7 points in February due to a halt in economic activity in the country on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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, the indicator for large firms rose 0.5 percentage points in September to 52.5, while for medium companies it declined by 0.9 percentage points to 50.7, and for small ones it increased by 2.4 points to 50.1.
Three of the five sub-indices that make up the manufacturing PMI were above the 50-point threshold: the sub-index for production at 54 points, that of new orders at 52.8, and of supplier delivery times at 50.7.
However, the sub-index for employment remained at 49.6 and that of the provision of raw materials stood at 48.5.
The PMI for businesses not related to manufacturing was 55.9 in September after standing at 55.2 in August and 54.2 in July.
The services sector, which represents more than half of the country’s gross domestic product, stood at 55.2 points in September following figures of 54.3, 53.1, 53.4 and 52.3 in August, July, June and May respectively.
The NBS indicated that, in the breakdown of these businesses, the sub-index for production increased by 1.7 percentage points from the previous month to 54, while the sales price index shrank by 1.3 points to 50.6.
The index of expected economic activity, which measures the confidence of non-manufacturing companies in future market development, grew 0.9 points to 63.
The comprehensive PMI production index, combining manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries, stood at 55.1 points in September as compared to 54.5 in August and 54.1 in July.
NBS statistician Zhao Qinghe said in a statement on Wednesday that although manufacturing demand had improved, the recovery of the industry remained uneven with companies in sectors such as textiles recording insufficient market demand.
He added that the pandemic had not yet been fully controlled globally, which created uncertainty with regard to China’s imports and exports.
However, he stressed that the services sector continued to recover and that government policies to boost consumption were yielding results. EFE-EPA