Factory activity in China returned to growth last month on the back of an increase in new orders, but employment continued to contract and pressures of inflation became more pronounced, reports Reuters. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 50.4 in February, pulling away from a two-year low of 49.1 in the previous month. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected the index to edge up to 49.3.
The 50 mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. The improved reading was in line with the official PMI released earlier in the day, which showed the index at 50.2 last month, just a touch higher from 50.1 in January.
A sub-index for new orders stood at 51.5, the highest since June 2021 and up significantly from 48.5 in the previous month, as factories reported stronger customer demand.