China services sector grows steadily as government measures kick in

Mon Sep 2, 2013 11:40pm EDT
 
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By Langi Chiang and Jonathan Standing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's services sector grew steadily in August as domestic demand picked up, official data showed on Tuesday, adding to signs that government measures have started to steer the world's second-largest economy out of its longest slowdown.

The non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) dipped slightly to 53.9 last month from July's 54.1 to be at the same level as in June, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

A reading above 50 indicates activity in the sector is accelerating, while one below 50 points to a slowdown.

The survey followed a pair of manufacturing PMIs which showed factory activity accelerated in August.

"The non-manufacturing sector grew steadily in August. The rise in new orders set a good foundation for growth in the next few months," said Cai Jin, a vice head of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), which compiles the index on behalf of the NBS, said in a statement.

In a nod to signals the economy may be improving, Premier Li Keqiang struck a cautiously upbeat note on Tuesday.

"China's economy has grown steadily in the first half of the year," Li told an investment forum. "And recent economic data indicates China's employment and inflation are stable."

China's economy has slowed in 12 of the past 14 quarters. In recent months, Beijing has rolled out measures to prevent growth from sliding too far, allowing it to set a base for pressing ahead with long-awaited structural reforms to move the economy off a dependence on investment, credit and exports.   Continued...

 
A worker welds at a machinery manufacturing factory in Huaibei, Anhui province August 20, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer