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China March factory activity grows for first time in four months, but exports weak


Added 03-31-19 12:03:02am EST - “Factory activity in China unexpectedly grew for the first time in four months in...” - Reuters.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reuters.com: “China March factory activity grows for first time in four months,...”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Factory activity in China unexpectedly grew for the first time in four months in March, an official survey showed on Sunday, suggesting government stimulus measures may be starting to take hold.

If sustained, the improvement in business conditions could suggest the ailing manufacturing sector is on a path to recovery, easing fears that China could slip into a sharper economic downturn.

But many analysts remained cautious on the growth outlook, citing seasonal distortions caused by the long lunar New Year break in February. They argue that real investment and consumer demand remained soft and pushed up inventories at a sharper rate, potentially adding pressure to the sector.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 50.5 in March from February’s three-year low of 49.2, marking the first expansion in four months, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Sunday. The 50-mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the manufacturing gauge would pick up slightly to 49.5, as factories ramped up production after the Lunar New Year holidays and rebuilt inventories ahead of a seasonal pickup in activity in spring.

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