China HSBC flash PMI hits 2-yr high in Jan
The HSBC flash purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 51.9 in January, the highest since January 2011 and above the 50-point level that shows accelerating growth in the sector from the previous month.
The PMI, the earliest preview of China’s economic health in 2013, is the latest indication that the world’s second-largest economy is steadily recovering from a near two-year cool-down. “Despite the still tepid external demand, the domestic-driven restocking process is likely to add steam to China’s ongoing recovery in the coming months,” Qu Hongbin, chief China economist at HSBC, said on Thursday.
Asian investors welcomed the data.
The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan defied nervousness over Apple Inc’s disappointing earnings to edge up 0.1%, while the Australian dollar steadied from an earlier slip.
HSBC said the sub-indices for output, new orders and employment that account for three quarters of the flash PMI all improved in January to hover above 50. The output index climbed to 22-month highs while the employment sub-index was at its highest since May 2011.
Demand for Chinese exports also improved slightly this month, the flash index showed, but it shed little light on whether the pick-up would last.
China’s exports had a surprisingly strong spurt in December, contributing to the country’s emergence from a protracted cool-down, though analysts worry the rebound would be
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