China manufacturing growth at eight-month low: govt

[BEIJING] China's manufacturing growth skidded to an eight-month low in November, an official survey showed Monday, signalling further downward pressure on the world's second-largest economy.

China's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) released by the National Bureau of Statistics came in at 50.3 last month, lower than the 50.8 recorded in October and the weakest since a similar 50.3 reading in March.

The index, which tracks activity in factories and workshops, is considered a key indicator of the health of China's economy, a major driver of global growth. A figure above 50 signals expansion, while anything below indicates contraction.

The results came after a closely watched private survey fell to a six-month low and showed manufacturing stagnating.

British bank HSBC's preliminary PMI for November came in at the 50.0 breakeven point dividing expansion and contraction, the bank said last month. It was lower than October's 50.4 and the weakest reading since May's 49.4.

HSBC is scheduled to release its final reading for November on Monday.

China's central bank last month unexpectedly cut benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years, as authorities seek to prop up flagging growth.

The cut came after a string of disappointing data showed the Chinese economy is struggling with not just stalling factory growth, but other problems including soft exports and a weakening property market.

China's economy expanded 7.3 per cent in the July-September quarter, down from 7.5 per cent in the previous three months and the slowest since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

The People's Bank of China on November 21 lowered its one-year rate for deposits by 25 basis points to 2.75 per cent and its one-year lending rate by 40 basis points to 5.6 per cent, a statement said.

China's housing prices fell on a monthly basis for the seventh straight month in November, a survey showed Sunday, as the country's property market weighs on growth.

The average price of a new home in China's 100 major cities was 10,589 yuan (US$1,720) per square metre in November, down 0.38 per cent from October, the independent China Index Academy said in a statement.

The fall was a slight improvement from the 0.40 per cent month-on-month drop in October, previous figures showed.


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