Econintersect: The preliminary PMI reading (HSBC Flash PMI) shows an unexpectedly large increase for March, coming in at 51.7 compared to an expected 50.8 in a Bloomberg survey. In February the final HSBC PMI reading was 50.4. The number 50 is the dividing line between expansion (above) and contraction (below). The output index showed even more strength at 52.8, up from 50.8 in February. An article by Reuters cited a number of cautionary quotes from economists and market observers not to expect an overly robust second quarter because of the March rebound.
From the Markit / HSBC press release:
Commenting on the Flash China Manufacturing PMI survey, Hongbin Qu, Chief Economist, China & Co-Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC said:“March flash manufacturing PMI rebounded to 51.7 onthe back of stronger new orders and production growth. This implies that the Chinese economy is still on track for gradual growth recovery. Inflation remains well behaved, leaving room for Beijing to keep policy relatively accommodative in a bid to sustain growth recovery.”
The following graphics were contained in the Markit press release:
- China Manufacturing Rebounds in Sustained-Recovery Sign: Economy (Bloomberg, 21 March 2013)
- China manufacturing rises but first-quarter momentum may be muted (Lucy Hornby, Reuters, 21 March 2013)