China's PMI firms up as economic recovery continues apace
China's manufacturing and service sector activities remained in the expansion zone for nine straight months as the country continued its recovery from the economic fallout of COVID-19.
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector came in at 52.1 in November, up from 51.4 in October and representing the highest level of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
Commenting on the better-than-expected data, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said the improvements in these readings were a result of the country's efforts to coordinate epidemic control and social and economic development.
The "marked growth" of the November PMI, together with improvements in all sub-indexes, indicated greater vitality in the country's manufacturing sector and a faster pace of recovery, Zhao said.
The sub-index for production stood at 54.7 in November, up 0.8 points from October, while that for new orders gained 1.1 points to 53.9, signaling that the revival of market demand has accelerated.
Medicine, electronic equipment and other high-tech manufacturing-related industries logged busier factory activities, with their sub-indexes of production and new orders all standing above 56, according to Zhao.
The new export orders and import sub-indexes climbed to 51.5 and 50.9 in November, up 0.5 points and 0.1 points respectively from the previous month.
Both new export orders and import sub-indexes hit a year-high in November and stayed in the expansion territory for three consecutive months, pointing to a continued revival of the country's foreign trade, according to Zhao.
Monday's data also showed that the PMI for the country's non-manufacturing sector came in at 56.4 in November, up from 56.2 in October.
In November, the service sector continued to accelerate its pace of recovery, with the sub-index for business activities expanding to 55.7 from 55.5 in the previous month.
A breakdown of the data showed that sub-indexes for the business activities of rail transportation, civil aviation and finance remained above 60.
China's steady economic recovery could be attributable to the country's successful domestic containment of COVID-19 and a slew of fiscal stimulus measures, among other factors, according to financial services firm Nomura.
As the country brought COVID-19 under control, the government rolled out a series of policies including higher fiscal spending, tax relief and cuts to banks' reserve requirement rate to cushion the economy from the epidemic blow and support employment.
As for future development, Nomura expected the country's factory activities to further stabilize. "We expect China's official manufacturing PMI to remain solid at around 51 to 52 in the coming months," it said. If the pandemic continues unabated around the globe it may eventually weigh on China's growth.