Mainland factory activity edges up in December

Manufacturing activity on the mainland edged up in December, official data showed on Friday, beating expectations as the price of commodities eased and despite sporadic closures due to Covid outbreaks.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) — a key gauge of manufacturing activity — rose to 50.3, remaining above the 50-point mark separating growth from contraction.

The data from the National Bureau of Statistics marks a slight increase from last month’s reading of 50.1 and beats expectations from analysts who had broadly predicted a slight decline.

“With the intensification of efforts to stabilise the economy, such as securing supply and stabilising prices… the prices of some commodities have fallen significantly, and the cost pressure on companies has eased,” said NBS statistician Zhao Qinghe.

Factory activity returned to expansion in November after seven months of decline due to power shortages and high raw material prices.

The PMI reading contracted below 50 for two months in September and October as the power crunch hit business operations.

Meanwhile, the non-manufacturing business activity index was 52.7 percent in December, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from the previous month.

The recovery was driven in part by the recuperating air transport sector and hospitality. (AFP)