BEIJING — China’s non-manufacturing sector expanded at a slower pace in February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Feb 28.
The non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index came in at 54.4 this month, down from 55.3 in January.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
Despite the slowdown, the February reading was slightly up from 54.2 in the same period last year, an NBS statement said, noting that non-manufacturing activity remained relatively strong.
The service sector, which accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP, reported milder expansion as its business activity index dropped to 53.8 from 54.4 a month ago. But it was higher than a year earlier and well above the boom-bust line of 50.
Retail, catering, railway transport, aviation, telecom, internet and tourism were robust due to increased consumption demand in the Spring Festival, with their business activity indexes standing above 56, according to NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
Business activity in such services as securities, insurance and real estate contracted. The construction business slowed, affected by the cold weather and the festival holiday.
Indices showed both service and construction firms remained positive on the market outlook, Zhao said.
In face of lingering downward pressure, China is counting on rapidly-growing services to drive the economy and has taken a string of favorable measures. The service sector contributed 58.8 percent to economic growth last year.