- POSTED: 16 Dec 2013 11:13
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China's manufacturing activity in December expanded at its slowest rate in three months, British banking giant HSBC said on Monday.
BEIJING: China's manufacturing activity in December expanded at its slowest rate in three months, British banking giant HSBC said on Monday.
The bank's preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the world's second-largest economy came in at 50.5 for the month, down from a final reading of 50.8 in November and the lowest since September.
The index tracks manufacturing activity in China's factories and workshops and is a closely watched gauge of the health of the economy. A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below signals contraction.
Different components that contribute to the PMI figure showed conflicting indications, the bank said. New order growth edged up to nine-month high, but employment and output prices both slipped from November.
The preliminary PMI reading for December "still stands above the average reading for the third quarter, implying that the recovering trend of the manufacturing sector starting from July still holds up," Qu Hongbin, an HSBC economist in Hong Kong, said in a statement.
The bank expects China's economic growth to stabilise at around 7.8 percent year-on-year in the October-December period, unchanged from the official figure for the third quarter.
But Zhang Zhiwei, an analyst with Nomura International in Hong Kong, warned that the easing in the December figure indicated China's economic growth was losing steam.
"The decline in the flash PMI suggests growth momentum has started to weaken," he said in a research note, adding the trend is likely to continue in the first half of next year.
HSBC said its final PMI for this month was scheduled for release on January 2.