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China's manufacturing activity rebounds amid slowdown

April 01, 2016 13:33 IST

An investor points to an electronic board showing stock information as he speaks to another investor, at a brokerage house in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China, November 19, 2015. Photograph: China Daily/Files/Reuters

The new data suggests positive momentum of the reforms being implemented to halt the slowdown.

For the first time in nine months, China's manufacturing activity rebounded last month amid painful structural reforms to halt the slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

The purchasing managers' index came in at 50.2 in March, up from February's 49, data released today by the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 reflects contraction.

The new data suggests positive momentum of the reforms being implemented to halt the slowdown.

With China experiencing its slowest growth in 25 years at 6.9 per cent in 2015, the government has taken tough measures to fix structural problems that have hindered its economy.

Under this, China, the world's biggest steel and coal producer, announced cut in excess capacity by a whopping 100 to 150 million tonnes in the two key sectors.

Some 1.8 million employees in the coal sector will be relocated while 360 million tonnes of outdated production capacity will be removed.

The government has fixed 6.5 to 7 per cent as gross domestic product target for this year.

NBS statistician Zhao Qinghe attributed the rebound to the government's pro-growth measures, as well as the rising demand of manufacturing imports and exports.

The price rebound of major international commodities spurred purchases.

Technology upgrades also contributed to improvement of manufacturing sectors, said Zhao.

The sub-index measuring production stood at 52.3, up 2.1 points from a month earlier, with that for new orders settling at 51.4, up 2.8 points.

The sub-index for imports came in at 50.1, up 4.3 points from February, the highest reading since December, 2013.

Also the business activity in China's non-manufacturing sector expanded in March, reversing a downward trend since December.

Image: An investor points to an electronic board showing stock information as he speaks to another investor, at a brokerage house in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China, November 19, 2015. Photograph: China Daily/Files/Reuters

K J M Varma in Beijing
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