China's factory activity recovery gathers pace in July

China | 31 Jul 2020 10:00 am

China’s factory activity expanded in July for the fifth month in a row and at a faster pace, beating analyst expectations despite disruptions from floods and a resurgence in coronavirus cases around the world, Reuters reports.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) climbed to 51.1 in July from June’s 50.9, official data showed on Friday, marking the highest reading since March. Analysts had expected it to slow to 50.7.

The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

New export orders fell although at a slower pace than the previous month, indicating continued pressure on external demand. Companies continued to shed more employees than they hired, although the pace here also moderated. Production rose to a four-month high.

A Reuters poll this month has forecast GDP to expand 2.2 percent in 2020, up from 1.8 perfcent projected in the last poll in April, with recently improving data underpinning the more upbeat outlook.

Gauges ranging from trade to producer prices all point to a pick-up in manufacturing, but analysts say factories could have a tough time maintaining momentum as pent-up demand wanes and heavy flooding across large swathes of China disrupts economic activity.

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