Activity in China’s huge factory and services sector grew faster than forecast in March from February when it was slowed by the annual Lunar New Year holiday.
The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 51.9 from 50.6 in February, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released Wednesday showed, remaining above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.
Analysts had expected it to rise to 51.0.
The pace of expansion in the services sector expanded at a much faster pace last month than in manufacturing.
The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) surged to 56.3 from 51.4 in February (a reading 50 marks the difference between expansion (above) and contraction (below), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
Economists say the sharp step up in growth reflected improving levels of confidence among Chinese consumers who had been reluctant to open their wallets for much of 2020 as the manufacturing side of the economy rebounded from the depths of the Covid pandemic lockdowns a year ago.
The official March composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services activity, jumped to 55.3 from February’s 51.6.