China's economy expands in April

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

As suspected by foreign economists, activity across the Chinese economy expanded in April, though at a slower rate than seen in March's rebound.

The official Manufacturing survey slowed to a still positive expansion rate of 50.4 in April from March's 12-month high of 50.8. The reading was slightly stronger than market forecasts of 50.3. Data in the National Bureau of Statistics report showed new orders grew less (51.1 vs. 53.0 in March), with foreign sales rising softer (50.6 vs. 51.3), while output continued to expand (52.9 vs. 52.2). Services activity remained positive, but growth slowed noticeably.

The NBS said that the services activity reading fell to 51.2 in April from 53.0 in the previous month, falling short of the market consensus of 52.2. However, it marked the 16th consecutive month of expansion in services activity but the softest pace since this year, as new orders shrank at a steeper rate, prices rose, and costs did not ease.

The combined readings from the two surveys were down to 51.7 in April 2024 from March's 10-month peak of 52.7. Another survey of manufacturing from Caixin magazine (which tends to track small and medium businesses as opposed to the larger state-owned ones in the NBS survey) showed a small rise to 51.4 from 51.1 in March.

It topped forecasts of a 51 growth rate. The Caixin survey, though, did show rising unemployment, costs, and softer sales. But new orders accelerated.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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