China’s economy appears set for strong first-quarter growth as manufacturing picked up in March after a slow start to the year, Reuters reported. HSBC’s (HBC.NYSE, HSBA.LON, 0005.HKG) Purchasing Managers’ Index climbed to 51.7 in March from 50.4 in February but remained below a two-year high. A reading above 50 indicates an acceleration in activity. In early March, the Chinese government said it would shoot for 7.5% annual GDP growth in 2013. The latest PMI figures put China on track to record growth of around 8%. “We are sanguine about China beating its GDP growth target,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, an analyst at Credit Agricole-CIB in Hong Kong.