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China factory activity steady in October: independent data
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 1, 2017

Chinese factory activity stabilised in October, according to independent data released Wednesday, one day after a disappointing official reading suggested output growth had slowed.

The world's second-largest economy registered 6.8 percent growth in the third quarter of the year, down from 6.9 percent in the first two quarters.

But experts have warned of a slowdown ahead as the country tightens financial controls to slow the pace of debt growth and reduces production in the northeast to tackle the country's notoriously bad air quality.

The Caixin Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) -- an indicator of conditions at small manufacturers -- came in at 51.0 in October, unchanged from the previous month.

A PMI figure above 50 represents growth while anything below points to contraction.

"October survey data signalled a further marginal improvement in manufacturing operating conditions across China," Caixin said in a statement with data compiler IHS Markit.

"But the stringent production curbs imposed by the government to reduce pollution and relatively low inventory levels have added to cost pressures on companies in midstream and downstream industries, which could have a negative impact on production in the coming months," Caixin analyst Zhengsheng Zhong wrote.

While new business and new export sales rose moderately in October, production expansion stagnated and manufacturers continued reducing staff levels, according to Caixin.

Despite increased purchasing activity from companies, input stocks declined as some manufacturers used current stockpiles to fulfil production requirements, leading to a drop in stocks of finished goods.

The government's official PMI reading Tuesday of 51.6 fell short of forecasts, suggesting factory activity expansion slowed in October.

"We tend to put more weight on the Caixin PMI since the index has recently done a better job capturing cyclical trends in economic activity," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China Economist at Capital Economics in a research note.


IHS Global Insight


Business leaders bow to Xi as Communist Party pushes in
Beijing (AFP) Oct 29, 2017
Chinese billionaires are boasting about their Marxist bonafides. The Communist Party is tightening its grip on state-owned companies. And foreign companies are being asked to invite party cells into their offices. Under President Xi Jinping, the country's ruling party is muscling back into business, expanding its reach in private enterprise and even laying out a plan for the government to t ... read more

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