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China manufacturing activity picks up, HSBC index shows

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AN index of nationwide manufacturing activity in China rose to 49 in December, on a preliminary basis, compared with a final reading of 47.7 in November, according to the HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index issued today by HSBC Holdings.

The rise in the PMI could assuage somewhat market concerns over a worsening economic slowdown in China, although the world's fastest-growing economy remains in contraction territory.

A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in activity from the previous month, while anything above that indicates growth.

"The pace of slowdown stabilised in December but the growth momentum remains weak with additional downside risks from exports and the property market not yet fully filtering through," said Hongbin Qu, HSBC's chief economist for China.

"With inflation quickly shifting to disinflation, the Chinese government can and should make more aggressive easing on both fiscal and monetary fronts to stabilise growth and jobs," he added.

The preliminary China PMI figure, also called the HSBC Flash China PMI, is based on 85 per cent to 90 per cent of total responses to HSBC's PMI survey each month, and is issued about one week before the final PMI reading.

The final PMI reading for December is due December 30.

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