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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

China's Industrial Output Recovers in March

China's manufacturing activity bounced back strongly again in March following disruptions in February from some of the worst snowstorms in half a century, according to the findings of two surveys published today.

The CLSA Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 54.4, the highest level in five months, from 52.8 in February, while a separate PMI report, published jointly by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and the statistics bureau, registered its highest reading in almost a year.

The CLSA index is based on replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives at more than 400 industrial companies. The survey tracks changes in output, new orders, employment, prices, inventories and delivery times. The data is seasonally adjusted. A reading over 50 indicates expansion. The output index rose to 55.6 in March from 53.2 in February, while the index of new orders climbed to 57.8 from 55.1. The index of export orders fell to 50.9 from 51.9.

The government index is based on a survey of more than 700 companies in 20 industries, including energy, metallurgy, and automobile and electronics manufacturing and attempts to track - on a seasonally adjusted basis - changes in output, new orders, export orders, employment, inventories, input costs and output prices. The output index in the government report jumped to 64.1 in March from 55.4 in February, while the index of new orders climbed to 63.8 from 56.9. The index of export orders rose to 59.1 from 51.3. All of this tends to suggest that there is still quite a strong level of underlying expansion in the Chinese economy.

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