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Manufacturing rebounds in February
Updated: 2009-03-04 10:19

China's manufacturing activity rebounded in February, indicating a gradual recovery in the country's economy.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector rose to 49 percent from 45.3 percent in January and a record low of 38.8 percent in November, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Wednesday.

A reading above 50 percent suggests expansion, while one below 50 percent indicates contraction.

The PMI includes a package of indices that measure economic performance. China's PMI was based on surveys directed at purchasing and supply managers of more than 700 local manufacturers.

Related readings:
Manufacturing rebounds in February China's PMI rises to 41.2% in Dec
Manufacturing rebounds in February China's PMI falls below 40% in November
Manufacturing rebounds in February China's PMI indicates further economic slowdown

The February figure suggested recovering but still contracting industrial activity, Barclays Capital Research analyst Yan Zheng said Wednesday.

February indices measuring new orders, output, purchasing and new orders for export all increased, the CFLP said.

The output index rose to 51.2 percent last month, up 5.7 percentage points from January. The new order index jumped 5.4 percentage points to 50.4 percent.

The index measuring new orders for export jumped 9.7 percentage points from January to 43.4 percent, the largest increase since September last year.

"The government's monetary and fiscal policy stimulus will come into play gradually, and together with the inventory dynamics, should support a strong recovery in growth in the second half of 2009," Yan said.

Since late last year, China has announced several aggressive measures to ease the domestic impact of the global downturn. These included a 4-trillion-yuan ($586 billion) economic stimulus package, a plan to expand rural home appliance purchases and support plans for key industries.

In an effort to boost economic growth, the People's Bank of China, or the central bank, has cut interest rates five times and reduced banks' required reserve ratio four times since September.

Zhang Hanya, an economist with the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, said gross domestic product (GDP) growth would bottom out in the first quarter as these efforts began to pay off.

Zhang forecast GDP would grow 10 percent for the full year.

GDP expanded 9 percent in 2008, the lowest rate since 2001.

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