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China: Manufacturing PMI Gains Likely Temporary

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher No Comments Comments
    January 3, 2013

    The HSBC China Manufacturing PMI™ shows modest growth this month. The index is at 51.5 with growth above 50.

     After adjusting for seasonal factors, the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) – a composite indicator designed to give a single-figure snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing economy – posted 51.5 in December, up from 50.5 in November, signalling a modest improvement of operating conditions in the Chinese manufacturing sector. Moreover, it was the highest index reading since May 2011.

    Input prices at manufacturing plants continued to increase in December, and for the third successive month. The rate of inflation eased slightly from November but remained marked overall. Average tariffs also increased during December, after remaining broadly similar in November. Output charges rose at an accelerated pace that, although modest, was the quickest in 14 months. Anecdotal evidence suggested that tariffs were raised in line with rising market demand and higher input costs.

    Purchasing activity rose at a marked rate in December, the fastest since March 2011. Exactly 17% of panellists reported increased input buying. Consequently, stocks of purchases also rose. Even though the pace of stock accumulation was only slight, it was the quickest in two years. Rises in input buying and stocks of purchases were generally associated with higher new order volumes.

    Comment

    Commenting on the China Manufacturing PMI™ survey, Hongbin Qu, Chief Economist, China & Co-Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC said:

    “December’s final manufacturing PMI picked up for the fourth consecutive month to a 19-month high, thanks to the faster new business flows and the end of destocking. Such a momentum is likely to be sustained in the coming months when infrastructure construction runs into full speed and property market conditions stabilise. This, plus Beijing’s reiteration of keeping pro-growth policy in place into the coming year, should support a modest growth recovery of around 8.6% y-o-y in 2013, despite the ongoing external headwinds.”

    Pollyanna Outlook

    I beg to differ with Hongbin Qu.

    There is no reason to believe property market conditions will stabilize. Nor is there any reason to believe infrastructure construction will run at “full speed” for any significant length of time.

    Indeed, should either of those happen, China’s already massive rebalancing problem will just get worse.

    Realistic Outlook

    For a more realistic assessment on what is happening in China and why, please visit some of the above links.

    This modest bounce in China PMI to a number barely above contraction is nothing to get excited about.

    Mike “Mish” Shedlock

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

    Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/12/china-manufacturing-pmi-shows-modest.html#YIUCEmd1GFBRpVIY.99

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

     

    About The Author

    Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.  Visit Sitka Pacific’s Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

    You are currently viewing my global economics blog which typically has commentary every day of the week. I am also a contributing “professor” on Minyanville, a community site focused on economic and financial education.  Every Thursday I do a podcast on HoweStreet and on an ad hoc basis contribute to many other sites.

    When not writing about stocks or the economy I spend a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com.
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