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China January HSBC services PMI falls to 6-month low

Date 04-February-2015
Subject China January HSBC services PMI falls to 6-month low

BEIJING: China's services sector grew at the slowest pace in six months in January, a private survey showed, raising expectations that policymakers will need to unveil more stimulus measures to avert a sharper slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

The HSBC/Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index( PMI) fell to 51.8 last month - the lowest since July 2014 - from December's 53.4. But it remained above the 50-point level that separates contraction from growth in activity on a monthly basis.

A sub-index measuring new business eased to 52.5 in January, also a six-month low, but the sub-index measuring employment inched up as firms hired more workers for the 17th month in a row.

Official surveys showed on Sunday that growth in the services sector cooled to a one-year low in January, while the factory sector unexpectedly shrank for the first time in nearly 2-1/2 years.

The services sector has been the lone bright spot in China's economy.

China's economic growth slowed to 7.4 per cent in 2014 - the weakest in 24 years, from 7.7 per cent in 2013, even as the job-creating services sector outperformed the factory sector.

A further slowdown to around 7 per cent is expected this year, even allowing for additional stimulus measures, as a cooling property market, excess manufacturing apacity and slowing investment weigh on activity.

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