China Manufacturing Contraction May Worsen, Data Show
(Bloomberg) A Chinese manufacturing index indicated a worse contraction this month, bolstering the case for Premier Wen Jiabao to add measures to sustain growth even as he prolongs a campaign to cool property prices.
The preliminary 48.1 reading in a purchasing managers’ index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics today is the lowest since November and compares with a final 49.6 in February. A result below 50 indicates a contraction.
Asian stocks pared gains and oil and copper fell as the report added to concerns about a deeper slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy. Wen this month pledged pre-emptive fine- tuning of fiscal and monetary policies to support growth after increases in gross domestic product slowed in 2011.
“Growth momentum could slow down further amid a combination of sluggish export new orders and softening domestic demand, and this calls for further easing steps,” saidQu Hongbin, Hong Kong-based chief economist for China at HSBC. ................(more)