China: PMI rises to a one-year high and industrial production picks up
April 1, 2012
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFPL) rose from 51.0 points in February to 53.1 points in March, contrasting market expectations that had the PMI falling to 50.8 points. The March reading represents the fourth consecutive monthly increase in the index and, at the current level, the PMI is sitting at its highest point since March 2011. The March increase was broad-based, as 4 out of the 5 sub-categories used to calculate the overall index recorded gains over the previous month. In addition, a majority of components were above the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction. New orders, which account for 30% of total PMI, and production output, which accounts for a quarter of the total PMI, both improved in March. The input prices category, which is a reliable leading indicator of consumer prices, climbed to its highest level in six months. Industrial production expanded 11.9% in March, which was slightly above both the combined January-February figure of an 11.4% increase and the 11.5% rise expected by the market. The March print confirms the positive trend suggested by the PMI index in recent months.