BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- China's latest economic figures, especially the purchasing managers' index (PMI) in both factory activity and the services sector, indicated sagging momentum in December, with the country's growth softening slightly last quarter, economists said.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is scheduled, later this month, to release China's macroeconomic data for the fourth quarter and the entire year of 2013, such as gross domestic product (GDP) growth, industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment.
China's economy expanded by 7.7 percent in the first nine months of 2013. GDP growth in the third quarter accelerated to 7.8 percent from 7.5 percent in the second.
On Dec. 25, a report submitted by the State Council (cabinet) to the country's parliament said China's economic growth in 2013 is likely to stand at 7.6 percent. That would be the weakest growth since 1999.
DECLINING PMIs IN DECEMBER
The PMI for the non-manufacturing sector, a key measure of business activity in the services sector, fell to a four-month low at 54.6 in December, as most industries strived to find new growth engines amid slowing exports.
The figure was released on Friday by the NBS and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). The federation's vice chairman Cai Jin attributed the drop mainly to a slowdown in the construction and service sectors near the end of the year.
Earlier on Wednesday, NBS and CFLP said that the PMI for the manufacturing sector, a key measure of factory activity, had dropped to 51 in December, the lowest since August of 2013.
A HSBC survey, released on Thursday, showed the final reading of China's manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.5 in December from 50.8 in November, mainly due to slower output growth.
According to the HSBC survey, the subindex of new export orders declined for the first time since August.
Though a reading above 50 indicates expansion, falling PMIs in December reflected a fourth-quarter cooldown in both factory activity and business activity in the services sector.
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