China’s economy improves to ease global outlook concerns
China’s first official economic gauge for March signaled a stabilisation in the world’s second-largest economy, easing one of the biggest worries for the global outlook.
The manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 50.5 from 49.2 last month, the biggest increase since 2012 and exceeding all estimates by economists.
Both new orders and new export orders – leading sub-gauges that signal future activities – rose to the highest levels in six months.
That’s good news for global investors, as China’s weakening demand had weighed on sectors such as car producers and commodity exporters worldwide.
However, with tariffs and uncertainty about whether a deal with the US will be signed weighing on trade and no sign of a rebound in domestic consumption yet, there is still a way to go.
“China’s economy has improved, supporting a stabilisation in the global economy,” said Hua Changchun, global chief economist at Guotai Junan Securities Co. That stabilisation will also lift the European and US economies, and may lead to a global asset price increase, he said.
Sunday’s release backs up signs of recovery seen in the earliest data on the economy, which showed business confidence and stock markets improving amid policy support and progress in the China-US trade talks.
The government is also showing signs of optimism, with Premier Li Keqiang last week telling business people that the economy is doing better in the first quarter than expected.
Still, there’s evidence for caution. New export orders are still contracting even after the pick-up from the lowest level in a decade in February.
In addition, the rise in the March data may overstate the actual increase in activity, as the Lunar New Year holiday in February weighed down the data then, according to Zhou Hao, an economist with Commerzbank in Singapore.
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