Services activity hits 7-month high in November

Business | Agencies and Stella Zhai 5 Dec 2019

Activity in China's services sector accelerated to a seven-month high in November as new businesses, especially new export business, picked up, a private survey showed yesterday.

The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers' index rose to 53.5 last month, the quickest pace since April, from 51.1 in October. It has stayed above the 50-point margin that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis since late 2005.

Caixin's composite manufacturing and services PMI also rose to 53.2 in November from 52 in the previous month, marking the highest reading since February 2018.

While global foreign direct investment saw a 13 percent drop in 2018, inflows into China rose 3.7 percent from 2017 to US$139 billion (HK$1.08 trillion) last year, according to a report from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

However, capital investment by Chinese firms has ground to its slowest pace in three years, as a weakening economy, tight credit and prolonged trade war with the United States dent sales growth and cash reserves, a Reuters analysis showed. Capital spending only grew 1.6 percent year-on-year in the quarter ended September 30, showed the analysis of about 2,900 firms with a market capitalization above US$100 million.

Meanwhile, China is hurtling toward another record year of onshore bond defaults, testing the government's ability to keep financial markets stable as the economy slows and companies struggle to cope with unprecedented levels of debt. At least 15 defaults since the start of November have pushed this year's total to 120.4 billion yuan (HK$133.7 billion), within a hair's breadth of the 121.9 billion yuan annual record in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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