Manufacturing Grows at Fastest Pace in Four Months

Posted January 02, 2018

Spain's manufacturing sector expanded at a solid pace in December thanks to strong output and hiring, a survey showed on Tuesday, in the latest sign that economic growth throughout 2017 held steady until the end of the year.

China's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 51.6 in December, slightly decelerating from 51.8 in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data released Sunday. Readings above 50.0 indicate growth in activity.

"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".

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

In response to greater inflows of new orders, good producers were encouraged in December to engage in input buying at the sharpest rate since August 2015.

A private survey that focuses on small and medium-sized firms in showed that manufacturing activity picked up at a slower pace in November. Analysts widely expect growth to slow further in the final three months of the year, though the full-year growth rate is still likely to exceed the government's target of "around 6.5%", which its set in March.

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At the annual Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) chaired by President Xi Jinping, top policymakers pledged to focus on creating "high quality" growth.

"Businesses retained positive forecasts for outputover the next 12 months (on) projections of an improvement in underlying demand conditions", it noted. Compared with the official gauge's coverage of firms including large state-owned companies, the Caixin PMI tends to track small, private manufacturers more closely.

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.

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