China's factory sector shows resilience — China Focus

Source Ai Group

Czech manufacturing activity expanded at the sharpest pace in almost seven years in December, survey data from IHS Markit showed Tuesday.

The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to a 5 year high of 54.7 in December from 52.6 in November.

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

The nonmanufacturing index reading has remained above 54 in 2017 except in August.

The World Bank last month raised its projection for China's gross domestic product (GDP) a year ago to 6.8%, up from its October estimate of 6.7%, citing support from strong exports and robust domestic household consumption.

In China, manufacturing growth unexpectedly picked up to a four-month high in December amid a surge in new orders, suggesting continued strength in global trade.

The manufacturing sector employed less people as the sub-index of employment dropped 0.3 percentage points month on month to 48.5 in December.

However, there was a note of caution in the data as growth in new export orders fell to 56.9 in December from a near three-year high of 60.0 a month earlier.

Analysts also expect that manufacturing growth will also be affected in the coming months by restrictions on factory production in some areas and especially in heavy industries to reduce pollution.

China's manufacturing sector is expected to continue expanding in 2018 despite the slight decline of an index, said investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC).

Manufacturers' optimism about their business prospects over the next 12 months rebounded from November's record low, but remained well below the historical average, according to the Caixin survey. Moreover, output growth slowed to a modest pace.

"Weak domestic demand was reported as the key reason behind lower volumes of new business, as new export orders rose for the second month in succession".

Higher prices for raw materials such as steel and other metals pushed up input costs in December, and this in turn led to another push up in prices charged by manufacturers, the data showed.

"The sector therefore is in good shape heading into 2018", he added.

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