BEIJING — China’s manufacturing sector expanded at a slower pace in January but stayed well above the boom-bust line, official data showed on Jan 31.
The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 51.3 this month, decelerating from 51.6 in December, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
Despite the slowdown, the index, the same as that of a year ago, suggested the factory activity remained steady, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said.
The manufacturing PMI has been in positive territory for 18 straight months in a row.
Sub-indices for production and new orders went down slightly to 53.5 and 52.6, respectively.
“Some industries have entered the slack season, which contributed to slower growth in supply and demand,” Zhao said. “But manufacturers of consumer products saw more rapid increases due to the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.”
Sectors including farm produce processing, food and beverages, textiles and garments, and medicine witnessed robust growth.
“Consumption has showed its role in driving the economy,” Zhao said.
The Chinese economy is shifting to a consumption-led growth model to wean itself from reliance on exports and investment. Consumption contributed 58.8 percent of economic growth last year.
Meanwhile, Sub-indices for raw material inventory, employment and suppliers’ delivery time were still lower than 50.
Businesses saw easing pressure from rising operating costs in January, and export growth softened as overseas demand had started to retreat after the Christmas and New Year holidays, Zhao added.
The NBS data also showed the non-manufacturing sector picked up the pace as its PMI came in at 55.3, up from 55 in December and 54.6 in the same period last year. The index has been on a gaining streak for three months.