China's Feb HSBC flash PMI retreats from 2-year high
Some economists may attribute the dip in February's flash PMI to the Lunar New Year holiday that began on Feb. 10 this year and which fell in January last year, although the survey's publisher, Markit, says the data is seasonally adjusted to account for distortions from holidays.
The output sub-index fell from 22-month highs, new orders backed away from 20-month highs, factory employment edged down from its highest in 20 months, input prices cooled from a 16-month peak, and output prices fell from a 14-month high.
DOMESTIC DEMAND STEADY
As in previous months, February's survey showed domestic demand held up better than that from abroad. The new orders sub-index remained comfortably above 50 even after falling from January.
China holds its annual full-session parliament meeting on March 5 when incoming President Xi Jinping officially takes the reins of state power, while outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao presents the government's 2013 economic targets.
Most analysts believe Beijing will retain its 2012 gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 7.5 percent this year, thereby giving itself some room to slightly surpass expectations.
China's economy grew 7.8 percent in 2012, roughly in line with investors' expectations, but still the worst growth report in 13 years. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the economy to grow 8.1 percent in 2013.
The rebound, though gentle, would comfort investors banking on a modest Chinese economic recovery to lift global growth.
Indeed, February's flash PMI still marked the fourth consecutive month
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