China Feb HSBC services PMI falls from 4-month highs
The HSBC Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 52.1 from January's 54.0, after seasonal adjustments, but still held above 50 to show the increasingly important services sector was growing on a monthly basis.
Qu Hongbin, HSBC's chief China economist, attributed the pull-back in services growth in part to a clampdown on wasteful state spending by Beijing, such as forbidding officials from hosting extravagant meals.
He said distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in February this year as opposed to January in 2012, may also have contributed to swings in the PMI data even though the series is seasonally adjusted.
"We expect a continuous modest improvement of service sector growth in coming months, thanks to healthy labour market conditions and the ongoing recovery of manufacturing growth," he said.
The services sector accounted for 46 percent of China's gross domestic product in 2012, as big as the country's better-known manufacturing industry and nearly three times its 17 percent contribution in 1990.
The HSBC Services PMI reinforces the message from separate services and manufacturing PMIs that suggest a recovery in the world's second-largest economy paused in February on unsteady foreign and local demand.
An official survey from the National Bureau of Statistics on Sunday showed China's non-manufacturing PMI fell to a five-month low of 54.5 in February, from January's
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