China HSBC Flash PMI falls, points to tepid second-quarter recovery

Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:49am EDT
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By Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) - Growth in China's vast factory sector dipped in April as new export orders shrank, a preliminary survey of factory managers showed on Tuesday, suggesting the world's second-largest economy still faces formidable global headwinds into the second quarter.

The flash HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for April fell to 50.5 in April from 51.6 in March but was still stronger than February's reading of 50.4.

A sub-index measuring new export orders fell to 48.6 in April from 50.5 in March, reflecting weaker global demand as the U.S. economic recovery remains fragile and the euro zone is mired in recession.

The figures follow an unexpected contraction in export orders in March to Taiwan, one of the region's biggest providers of tech gadgets, signaling that Asia's trade-reliant economies may be losing further momentum.

Exports from South Korea, another big supplier to the global tech industry, fell by 3.1 percent for the first 20 days of April from a year earlier.

"New export orders contracted after a temporary rebound in March, suggesting external demand for China's exporters remains weak," said HSBC's China chief economist Qu Hongbin.

"Beijing is expected to respond strongly to sustain the economic recovery by increasing efforts to boost domestic investment and consumption in the coming months."

The Australian dollar fell to multi-week lows against the U.S. dollar, euro and pound after the data. Asia stock markets were lower across the region, with the CSI300 index of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings down 1.8 percent.   Continued...

Chinese cars for exporting are parked at a port of Liangyungang, Jiangsu province, March 31, 2013. China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) released by the National Bureau of Statistics rose to an 11-month high of 50.9 in March, above the 50-point level that indicates growth on the month. Picture taken March 31, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily