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China manufacturing accelerates: surveys

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 1, 2010
Manufacturing activity in China hit a six-month high in October, an independent survey showed Monday, in a sign that a recovery of the world's second-biggest economy has further consolidated.

The HSBC China Manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 54.8 in October from 52.9 in September as production and new orders continued to rise.

An official survey from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) showed that PMI rose to 54.7 last month from 53.8 in September.

A reading above 50 means the sector is expanding, while anything below 50 indicates a decline.

Asian shares mainly rose on Monday following the release of the strong data, with Shanghai up 2.52 percent and Hong Kong up 2.41 percent. Seoul's Kospi jumped 1.69 percent and Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.79 percent.

Only Tokyo shares remained subdued due to the strong yen and mixed corporate results, with the Nikkei down 0.52 percent at the close.

China's economy grew 9.6 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, down from 10.3 percent in the second quarter and 11.9 percent in the first as government efforts to rein in property prices and bank lending started to bite.

Analysts have said Monday's data showed success in efforts to steer the country towards more sustainable growth, less dependent on exports.

The pick-up in manufacturing activity in October showed that "the economy has likely stabilised further at a high level," government analyst Zhang Liqun said in the statement releasing the CFLP data.

Hong Kong-based HSBC chief economist Qu Hongbin attributed the upbeat reading to "strong growth momentum in domestic demand", noting that new export orders had only modestly increased.

"The jump in output prices reflects higher input costs amidst strong demand, which also heralds a higher CPI likely to reach its cyclical peak in October," Qu said.

The closely watched consumer price index, a key measure of inflation, rose 3.6 percent in September from a year earlier, the fastest pace since October 2008, and 0.6 percent higher than the previous month, official data showed.

The People's Bank of China last month raised one-year lending and deposit rates for the first time in nearly three years as Beijing ramped up efforts to contain rising inflation and cool the red-hot real estate market.

Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan has warned that the risks of excessive liquidity, inflation, asset bubbles and bad loans will "increase significantly".

Shen Jianguang, an economist with Mizuho Securities Asia Limited in Hong Kong, said the rising inflationary risk indicated by the October manufacturing data increased the likelihood of another rate hike before year's end.

"With October CPI likely to exceed four percent, we see a rising probability of another interest rate hike by the end of this year," Shen said in a research note.

HSBC's results are based on interviews with purchasing managers at more than 400 companies, while the CFLP survey covers more than 700 firms.

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