China service sector in slower expansion

 
Ben Southwood
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THE PACE of expansion in the Chinese service sector slowed to a five-month low in February, according to official data out yesterday.

China’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 54.5 in the second month of 2013, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, down from 56.2 in January, and to its lowest rate since September. A PMI of 50 indicates no change in conditions.

Last year Chinese GDP expanded at its slowest pace for 13 years, but a recent slew of upbeat data has led analysts to hope the world’s second biggest economy was on its way out of its growth slowdown.

The weaker services data mirrors weaker numbers in the economy’s biggest sector, manufacturing, released over the past week.

Markit’s manufacturing PMI slid from 52.3 in January to 50.4 last month, indicating only marginal growth in China’s key sector.

And the equivalent figures from NBS also fell, for the second month in a row, from 50.4 down to 50.1, adding to the evidence that steam is coming out of China’s rebound from its growth slowdown.