China October services growth slips to nine-month low, property weighs

Mon Nov 3, 2014 12:19am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's services sector grew at its slowest pace in nine months in October as a cooling property sector weighed on demand, a survey showed on Monday, adding to signs of fragility in the world's second-largest economy.

The services sector has been more resilient than the manufacturing sector and is creating more jobs, which partly explains why the government has so far refrained from more aggressive policy easing in supporting the slowing economy.

The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 53.8 in October from September's 54.0, which was the weakest reading since January, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

But it was still comfortably above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

The sub-index of new orders inched up to 51.0 in October from September's 49.5, which was the lowest since December 2008.

"Sub-indices for sectors such as railway transport and real estate remained below the 50 point and market demand weakened," the bureau said.

The sub-index measuring employment fell to 48.9 in October - the fourth straight month when it was below 50, and was down from September's 49.5.

An official survey published on Saturday showed China's factory activity unexpectedly fell to a five-month low in October as firms fought slowing orders and rising costs in the cooling economy, reinforcing views that the country's growth outlook is hazy at best.

China's annual economic growth slowed to 7.3 percent in the third quarter, the weakest pace since the global financial crisis, even as the government rolled out more stimulus measures to avert a sharper slowdown.   Continued...

Residents ride their electric scooter past a giant Chinese national flag to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in Zhengzhou, Henan province October 1, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer