BEIJING, May 1 (Xinhua) -- China's manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in April, suggesting a possible economic slowdown and decrease in inflationary pressures.
The country's manufacturing sector PMI, a key measure of the outlook for industrial growth, dropped to 52.9 percent in April, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Sunday.
The PMI figure was 53.4 percent in March, 52.2 percent in February and 52.9 percent in January.
A reading above 50 percent indicates economic expansion, while below 50 percent indicates contraction. China's PMI has remained above the boom-and -bust line for 26 consecutive months .
The CFLP said in a statement that the drop indicates that China's economy is moving along the direction set by its macro control policies.
"The drop is in line with the slowing growth in domestic demand and may add to possibilities of a slowdown in economic growth," Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said in the statement.
The CFLP data indicated that the new orders index, which reflects domestic demand, fell 1.4 percentage points to 53.8 percent in April.
"This shows the country's macro control policies have worked. The quality and efficiency of economic growth is improving. Meanwhile, inflationary pressure will ease gradually after peaking in one or two months," said Cai Jin, vice president of CFLP.
Cai noted that the drop in new orders in April indicates pressures of cost and liquidity are increasing as new orders normally booked strong increases, in previous years, in March and April.
According to the CFLP data, both the manufacturing industry's backlog orders and stocks of finished goods remained at around 50 percent, indicating there is a good fit between production and demand.
Meanwhile, the industry's import index slid 1.4 percentage points to 50.6 percent and the new export order index dropped 1.2 percentage points to 51.3 percent in April.
"The slowdown in foreign trade followed recent foreign exchange rate changes and export tax rebate adjustments," said Zhu Jianfang, chief economist with CITIC Securities.
China's currency, the Renminbi, went up 61 basis points on Friday to a new exchange of 6.4990 yuan per U.S. dollar, breaking the symbolic 6.50 ratio for the first time after being preceded by historic highs during the previous two days.
With a view to meeting the country's targets for energy conservation and emissions reduction, China canceled export rebates for some steel and non-ferrous products beginning July 15 last year.
The purchasing price barometer, a sub-index that measures the cost of raw materials, went down 2.1 percentage points to 66.2 percent in April, suggesting price rises are easing.
Liu Tiejun, an analyst with Haitong Securities, estimated that the imported inflationary pressures would ease in coming months as there is limited room for further rises in commodity prices.
"If we can keep the demand stable, the drop in purchasing prices is a good thing for enterprises. They can seek new balance points between demand and prices in the future," said Liu.
The CFLP data compares with the HSBC China Manufacturing PMI, which remained unchanged at 51.8 percent in April when compared to March.
The HSBC survey covers 400 companies, while the CFLP's monthly PMI reports measure data from 820 companies across a range of China's manufacturing sectors, including energy, metals, textiles, automobiles and electronics.
Chinese economy expands 9.7% in first quarter 2011
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China's economy expanded 9.7 percent in first quarter 2011 from a year earlier, and 2.1 percent from the previous quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. Full story
China's March CPI up 5.4%
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 5.4 percent in March from a year ago, down 0.2 percent from February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday. Full story
China's March PPI up 7.3%
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China's producer price index (PPI), a main gauge of inflation at the wholesale level, rose 7.3 percent in March from a year ago, up 0.6 percent from February. Full story
China's industrial value-added output rises 14.4% in Q1
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China's industrial value-added output grew 14.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced on Friday. Full story
China's Q1 fixed-asset investment up 25%: NBS
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The fixed asset investment in China rose 25 percent in the first quarter of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Friday. Full story
China's retail sales of consumer goods up 16.3 pct in Q1
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China's retail sales of consumer goods rose 16.3 percent year on year in the first quarter this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Friday. Full story
China's power consumption up 13.4% in March
BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhua) -- China's power consumption rose 13.41 percent year on year in March to 388.8 billion kilowatt hours (kwh), the National Energy Administration (NEA) said Thursday. Full story
China's new loans stand at 2.24 trillion yuan in Q1
BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese banks extended 679.4 billion yuan (103.98 billion U.S. dollars) in loans in March, up from 535.6 billion yuan in February, despite several rises in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) and interest rate hikes. Full story
China first-quarter fiscal revenue rises 33%
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Finance said on Friday the country's fiscal revenue rose 33.1 percent year on year to 2.61 trillion yuan (401.54 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter. Full story