Business / Economy

China's service sector activity rises in March

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-04-06 15:44

BEIJING - Business activity in China's service sector rose slightly in March on stronger demand, according to research results released on Wednesday.

The Caixin China General Services PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index), based on a survey by financial information service provider Markit and sponsored by Caixin Media, came in at 52.2 in March, up from 51.2 in February.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 represents contraction.

The improved data pointed to a modest rebound across China's service sector as new orders rose among service providers in March.

"Some respondents commented that improving underlying market conditions had helped to secure new work," according to the Caixin/Markit report.

The Caixin China Composite PMI, which covers both manufacturing and services, recorded the highest reading in 11 months at 51.3 in March, up from 49.4 in February, showing a renewed increase in overall business activity.

"Overall, the service sector developed well, but the economy is riding choppy waves, indicating the lack of a solid foundation for a recovery," said He Fan, chief economist at Caixin Insight Group.

He said the government should push forward supply-side reform to encourage the development of emerging industries.

The Caixin China General Services PMI is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in over 400 companies.

The expansion in overall business activity provided the latest evidence that the Chinese economy is warming thanks to pro-growth fiscal and credit policy support.

Earlier in the week, the official PMI for the manufacturing sector came in at 50.2 in March, up from February's 49 to its highest level since August.

China has cut benchmark interest rates and banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) multiple times since 2014, and has been driven to make more such moves by the economy logging its lowest annual expansion in a quarter of a century at 6.9 percent in 2015.

In early March, the central bank announced another RRR cut of 0.5 percentage points for commercial banks, the first such cut this year.

Labelling the current monetary policies as "prudent with a slight easing bias," China is aiming for a deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3 percent for 2016, up from 2.3 percent last year, giving the government more money to spend.

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