BEIJING: Chinese manufacturing grew at its strongest pace in 18 months in October, figures showed yesterday, but government and independent analysts warned underlying data suggest economic weaknesses remain.
The results are the latest to indicate the world’s number two economy is gradually emerging from a growth slowdown at the start of the year.
The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of activity in factories and workshops around the country climbed to 51.4 last month from 51.1 in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website.
The reading was the highest since 53.3 in April 2012. Anything above 50 indicates expansion while a figure below signals contraction.
“China’s official PMI rose to 51.4 in October, surprising slightly on the upside, suggesting that the economy is still in an expansion mode,” ANZ bank economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao said in a report after the release.
Also yesterday, British bank HSBC said its PMI had hit a seven-month high of 50.9 in October, unchanged from a preliminary reading last week, but much higher than its September figure of 50.2.
Official data last month showed China’s economy — a key driver of regional and global growth — expanded 7.8 percent in July-September, snapping two quarters of slowing. “China is on track for a gradual growth recovery,” HSBC chief economist for China Qu Hongbin said in the bank’s release.
He also said stronger manufacturing growth momentum helped employment expand for the first time since March.