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China private sector growth slowest in 10 months

Staff Writer | May 4, 2017
China's private sector expanded at the weakest pace in ten months in April, signaling a further slowdown in momentum at the start of the second quarter, survey results from IHS Markit showed Thursday.
China's private sector
Asia   The Caixin composite output index fell to 51.2
The Caixin composite output index fell to 51.2 in April from 52.1 in March. This was the lowest reading in ten months.

Latest data showed a loss of momentum across both the manufacturing and service sectors in April.

While manufacturers reported the weakest rise in production since last September, service providers revealed the slowest increase in business activity for 11 months.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 51.5 in April from 52.2 in March. This was the fourth consecutive fall in the reading.

New business placed with service providers grew at a faster pace on improving market conditions. Nonetheless, at the composite level, total new business increased at the softest pace since last September.

Services companies continued to add to their payrolls at the start of the second quarter, but at the slowest pace so far this year. Composite employment fell for the first time since the end of 2016, albeit only slightly.

Cost pressures eased across both monitored sectors in April. Overall, composite input prices increased at the slowest rate in seven months, data revealed.

Similar trends were seen for prices charged in April, with both manufacturing and services companies raising their prices.

Chinese companies generally held positive growth expectations for the year ahead in April. That said, the overall degree of positive sentiment moderated to a five-month low.

"A turning point in growth appeared to have emerged at the beginning of the second quarter," Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, said. "Investors should be cautious about downward risks in the economy."

The Chinese economy expanded 6.9% in the first quarter, the fastest since mid-2015, driven by investment, exports and domestic demand. This was also above the government's target of about 6.5% growth this year.