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Survey: China Manufacturing at 27-Month High

Bishkek (AKIpress) - China's factories posted their strongest growth in at least 1-1/2 years in July as new orders surged to multi-month highs, two surveys showed on Friday, cementing bets that the economy is re-gaining momentum after a spate of stimulus measures.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) issued by the government climbed to a 27-month high of 51.7 in July, beating forecasts for 51.4.

A separate PMI published by HSBC/Markit also rose to 51.7, its best performance in 18 months.

A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity on a monthly basis, and below that a contraction.

Analysts welcomed the data as a sign that the world's second-biggest economy is enjoying a revival after a rocky spell prompted authorities to launch a volley of support measures, including increasing bank lending to spur growth.

Now that looser monetary policy is having its intended effect, some analysts questioned the need for more economic stimulus in China, at least in the near term.

"There is no reason in China to be concerned about growth right now," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics. "It's a good time for policymakers to step back from stimulus and concentrate on reforms."

Both surveys showed that the rebound in manufacturing was led by firmer domestic demand as new orders -- a proxy for domestic and overseas demand -- rose more sharply than new export orders.

The official PMI showed new orders jumped to 53.6 from June's 52.8, the best reading since May 2012. The HSBC/Markit PMI also showed the new orders sub-index jumping nearly two points to 53.3, a level last seen in March 2013.

Worried by a slowdown in the economy in the first quarter, China began easing policy in April by cutting taxes, hastening investment, and lowering the reserve requirement for some banks.

Bank lending, which is controlled by the government, is expected this year to hit levels unseen since the 2008/09 global financial crisis.

All of this should help China sustain its economic recovery, said Qu Hongbin, an analyst at HSBC.

"We expect the cumulative impact of these measures to filter through in the next few months and help consolidate the recovery,” he said.


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