China’s industrial upswing is the latest sign of economic recovery

China’s industrial upswing is the latest sign of economic recovery

CHINA’S manufacturing activity rebounded in March, snapping a five-month decline and adding to evidence that the country’s industrial sector is building momentum for an economic recovery.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) expanded to 50.8, the highest reading in a year, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on Sunday (Mar 31).

This comes as a boost for policymakers seeking to restore confidence in the world’s second-biggest economy, and follows the fastest industrial output in two years for January and February, and an increase in exports for the two-month period.

“The industrial sector seems to be resilient, partly helped by strong exports,” said Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management. “If fiscal spending rises and exports remain strong, the economic momentum may improve.”

The latest figures show the country’s industrial engine room may be the driver to help the government achieve its annual growth target of around 5 per cent this year, even as Beijing faces multiple other challenges, including a property market crisis, sagging consumer confidence and geopolitical tensions.

A gauge of non-manufacturing activity climbed to 53 in March, compared with an estimate of 51.5. A reading above 50 suggests an expansion from the previous month, while a figure below that denotes contraction.

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