(Yicai Global) Sep 2 – China's manufacturing activity index edged down in August amid external uncertainties, but the industrial upgrade continued apace as the country strives to shift the economy to focus on high-productivity industries.
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector dipped to 49.5 in August from 49.7 in July, below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed Saturday.
A breakdown of the data showed manufacturing production maintained expansion, but market demand was suppressed amid a complex economic environment, according to NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
The sub-index for production edged down 0.2 points to 51.9 in August, signaling continuous expansion but at a slower pace, while that for new orders was down by 0.1 points to 49.7. The new export order sub-index, however, rebounded by 0.3 points to 47.2.
Among the 21 industries surveyed, 17 were in the expansion zone, up from 12 in July, and 11 recorded month-on-month PMI increases.
The reading also showed industrial upgrading continued apace, with high-tech manufacturing and consumption-related sectors maintaining rapid expansion, Zhao said.
The PMI of high-tech manufacturing and consumer goods industries stood at 51.2 and 50.9, respectively, exceeding the overall manufacturing activity index by 1.7 and 1.4 points.
The PMI for the non-manufacturing sector came in at 53.8 in August, up from 53.7 in July.
The service sector activity levelled slightly, with the sub-index down 0.4 points to 52.5, as adverse weather conditions took a toll on industries including airlines, hotels, catering and tourism.
However, the sub-index of service-sector business expectations, a gauge of companies' confidence toward the prospects of future operations, climbed 0.7 points to 59.8.