China Feb factory growth fizzles as demand wanes
But the bigger-than-expected retreat in two purchasing managers' indexes (PMIs) on Friday does not signal China's economy is slipping into another slowdown, analysts said. Instead, they show China's recovery this year would be mild, as widely expected.
Separate data from China's bank regulator that showed banks weathered their worst economic downturn in 13 years last year without any rise in bad debt ratios could further assuage investors worried about the health of the world's No. 2 economy.
An official PMI from the National Bureau of Statistics eased to 50.1 after seasonal adjustments in February, the weakest reading in five months and just above the 50-point level demarcating growth from contraction on a monthly basis. January's reading was 50.4.
A second PMI issued by HSBC fell to a four-month low of 50.4 after seasonal adjustments, off January's two-year high of 52.3 and in line with a flash reading in late February.
"Today's data point to a stabilisation of economic activity in coming months, not a strong recovery in growth," said Jian Chang, a Barclays analyst.
Unlike recent months when lethargic foreign demand for Chinese goods was the Achilles' heel for factories, domestic demand was surprisingly soft in February and an additional challenge for firms already fighting weak sales abroad.
The official PMI survey, the larger of the two surveys with a sample size of 3,000, showed growth
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