|A worker does welding job at a construction site in Lushan District of Jiujiang, east China's Jiangxi Province, Feb. 28, 2013. The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell for a second month to 50.1 percent in February from 50.4 percent in January, according to data released Friday. (Xinhua/Zhang Haiyan)
BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell for a second month to 50.1 percent in February from 50.4 percent in January, according to data released Friday.
The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said in a statement on its website that the drop was caused by last month's week-long Spring Festival holiday, which lasted from Feb. 9 to 15.
The PMI stayed above 50 percent for the fifth consecutive month in February, indicating continued expansion, CFLP data showed.
The CFLP said China's industrial production is generally steady at present and companies are relatively optimistic about their future economic prospects.
"In general, the country's economy is still on a course of stabilization," the CFLP said.
The PMI retreat signals that the country's economy will turn from a rebound to steady growth, said Zhang Liqun, an analyst from the Development Research Center of the State Council, or China's cabinet.
All five major sub-indices for the sector saw month-on-month drops last month, the CFLP data showed.
The sub-index for production dropped 0.1 percentage points to 51.2 percent. It stayed above the boom-bust line of 50 percent, the statement said.
Orders received by Chinese manufacturers dropped, as the sub-index for new orders dropped by 1.5 percentage points from the previous month to 50.1 percent, the statement said.
Sub-indices for raw material inventories, employment and supplier delivery times also dropped last month, the statement said.
The business outlook sub-index surged 8.7 percentage points from a month earlier to 64.6 percent, indicating that manufacturing companies are optimistic about their future prospects, the statement said.
The PMI sub-index for large companies stayed unchanged from January at 51.3 percent, while that for medium-sized ones slid 0.9 percentage points to 48.8 percent and that for small firms dropped 0.2 percentage points to 46 percent, the data showed.
The HSBC's final PMI for China's manufacturing sector, which was also released Friday, fell to 50.4 in February from 52.3 in January, staying above the 50-percent threshold that demarcates expansion from contraction for the fourth consecutive month.
Qu Hongbin, chief economist at HSBC, said the final PMI suggests a slower pace of expansion. China's economy is still recovering mildly and there is no need for the central bank to tighten its policies any time soon, he added.