Chinas Factory Activity Grows For Second Straight Month

Beijing, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 30th Apr, 2024) China‘s factory activity grew for a second successive month in April, data showed Tuesday, providing some good news for officials battling to kickstart the vast economy in the face of weak domestic demand and a battered property sector.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) — a key measure of factory output — came in at 50.4, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said — slightly higher than the 50 level that separates expansion and contraction.

While it was down from March, the figure beat Bloomberg analysts’ forecast of 50.3 and marked a continuation of growth after a five-month slump starting in late 2023.

Authorities have struggled to spur an economic rebound since emerging from stringent Covid control measures in late 2022.

China continues to fight a crisis in its debt-ridden property market, with home prices sliding in recent months, while retail sales have been hit by poor domestic demand.

A global slowdown, meanwhile, is weakening demand for the country’s products overseas.

“The manufacturing sector continues to be in a state of recovery and development,” the NBS said in a statement.

Beijing announced in early March its goal of achieving five percent annual growth in 2024, a target considered ambitious by many economists.

Officials have in recent months announced a series of targeted measures and the issuance of sovereign bonds to boost infrastructure spending and revive economic activity — with mixed results.

China‘s non-manufacturing PMI, which measures activity in the services sector, came in at 51.2 in April, down from 53.0 in March and below forecasts, the NBS data showed.

The country notched economic growth of 5.2 percent last year, according to an official figure that many economists consider to be an overestimate, despite already representing the lowest expansion since the 1990s apart from the pandemic years.

April‘s PMI data shows that “production improved but new orders weakened compared to last month”, Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, said in comments sent to AFP.

“This reflects that domestic demand is still quite weak.”

“China’s economic rebound in the first quarter is partly driven (by) strong exports. The property sector has not stabilised yet,” Zhang said.
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