Growth slowed from the fastest pace in four years according to a survey of purchasing managers by CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. The CLSA China Purchasing Managers' Index fell to a seasonally adjusted 54.7 from 55.4 in April.
The CLSA index, started in April 2004, is based on a survey of more than 400 manufacturing companies. The survey tracks changes in output, new orders, export orders, employment, inventories, input costs and output prices. A reading above 50 shows an expansion in business activity, below 50 a contraction.
The output index dropped to 56.7 in May from 57.9 in April, while the index of new orders fell to 57.3 from 58.6. The export orders index in the CLSA survey rose to 52.2, a four-month high, from 52.
At the same time the Purchasing Managers' Index published jointly by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and the government's statistics bureau fell to 53.3 in May from a record 59.2 in April.
The index of export orders on this measure fell to 53.4 from 58.9. The index of new orders declined to 55.4 from 65. The output index dropped to 55.7 from 66.5.
The index is based on a survey of more than 700 companies in 20 industries, including energy, metallurgy, textile, automobile and electronics. A reading above 50 reflects an expansion, below 50 a contraction.
Whichever way you look at it, and no matter the differences between the two surveys, manufacturing seems to have slowed somewhat in China in May.