China’s March Factory Activity Grows at Strongest Pace in Over a Year

China’s manufacturing sector in March expanded at its strongest pace in more than a year, according to a private survey released on Monday. The Caixin/S&P Global China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 51.1, its highest level since February 2023, up from 50.9 in February. This performance exceeded economists’ expectations of a reading of 51, indicating a positive trend in the world’s second-largest economy.

The encouraging data is consistent with an official survey showing robust manufacturing activity, surpassing market expectations and reaching its highest level in 11 months. Additionally, the official non-manufacturing activity survey reported its strongest reading since June. This comes amid positive export and retail sales data, signaling a steady recovery in China.

According to Wang Zhe, a senior economist at Caixin Insight Group, the manufacturing sector in China continued to strengthen in March, with both supply and demand expanding, and an uptick in overseas demand.

Furthermore, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that the official manufacturing PMI for March was 50.8, the strongest reading since March last year and higher than the expected 49.9. These surveys offer valuable insights into the current state of the Chinese economy, serving as key indicators each month.

In light of the 2023 data’s high base, some economists have warned that Beijing may need to implement more substantial stimulus measures to achieve its 2024 growth target of “around 5%.” China has also set a deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3% for the year and reiterated its commitment to promoting “high-quality growth” and manufacturing.