Service sector rebounded in December

08:29, January 04, 2011      

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A restaurant in Taizhou city, Jiangsu province. China's non-manufacturing PMI rose in December, indicating growth in the country's service sector. Gu Jun / For China Daily

China's service sector continued to rebound in December, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said on Monday.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the non-manufacturing sector rose to 56.5 in December, compared with a nine-month low of 53.2 in November, the federation said on its website.

The PMI index provides a snapshot of conditions in the service sector and includes a package of sub-indexes to measure non-manufacturing activity. The level of 50 is the demarcation point for expansion from contraction.

According to the CFLP report, the new orders sub-index rose to 52.3 in December, compared with 50.1 in November. The new export orders sub-index for December was 53.6, up from 50.3 in the previous month.

The new orders sub-index for the real estate sector declined to 45 in December, indicating that the nation's fight against excessively rapid home price rises is working, analysts said.

The input cost sub-index eased to 65.9 from 66.6 in November. Analysts said it is a sign of easing inflation, although the sustainability of the trend remains to be seen.

"On one hand, the rebound (in non-manufacturing PMI) was caused by large investment in the service sector," said Li Xunlei, chief economist with Guotai Junan Securities. "On the other hand, it was influenced by government policies encouraging the service sector."

The nation has vowed to support accelerated service-sector growth to make economic growth more consumption-driven instead of export- and investment-driven.

Last month, at a seminar on drawing up the nation's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said "greater efforts should be made to strengthen the role of innovation in driving growth, quicken the upgrading of traditional industries, develop strategic emerging industries and push forward the service sector to accelerate the transformation of China's economic growth pattern".

At present, the service sector accounts for less than 45 percent of the Chinese economy, while accounting for more than 70 percent in the United States.

On Sunday China released its official manufacturing PMI figure for December, which was 53.9, down from 55.2 in November, the first decline in five months.

Analysts attributed the weakening of the country's manufacturing activity in December to the government's tightening monetary policy, which aims to fight worsening inflation, and the closure of polluting and highly energy-intensive factories to meet the nation's energy efficiency targets.

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