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Manufacturing could be at 2-year high this month

(Global Times)

08:18, January 25, 2013

CHINA'S manufacturing activities may have grown at its fastest pace in two years this month thanks to more orders amid a strengthening economy, an HSBC survey showed yesterday.

The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, the earliest available indicator of the industrial sector's vitality, climbed to 51.9 in January, up from 51.5 in December.

A reading above 50 is expansion, and it would be the third consecutive month that the index, slanted toward private and export-oriented firms, has pointed to expansion.

Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC Holdings Plc, said: "Thanks to the continuous gains in new business, manufacturers accelerated production by additional hiring and more purchases. Despite still tepid external demand, the domestic-driven restocking process is likely to add steam to China's ongoing recovery in the coming months."

The component indexes under the HSBC Flash PMI showed that output, new orders and employment all improved this month to hover above 50.

The output index climbed to a 22-month high while that for employment was at its highest since May 2011.

"Although there still exist many uncertainties, business sentiment is stronger," said Li Maoyu, an analyst at Changjiang Securities Co. "Manufacturers are seeing the pickup of economic growth as reasons to expand production."

China's economic growth accelerated to 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, ending a seven-quarter slowdown after the government relaxed its monetary policy and fast-tracked some major investment projects.

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