A private gauge of service sector activity in China hit a three-month high in March, as coronavirus outbreaks in winter eased.
Caixin China Services Purchasing Managers Index climbed to 54.3 in March from a February 10-month low of 51.5, Caixin Media Co. and research firm Markit said on Tuesday. The index was above the 50 mark separating expansion from contraction, signaling that both supply and demand in the service sector continued to grow.
Total new orders, driven by strong domestic demand, grew at the fastest pace in three months. Meanwhile, the new export orders sub-index contracted for a second straight month as the pandemic continued to put pressure on new orders abroad.
The employment sub-index rose in March and returned to expansionary territory after the February contraction, thanks to efforts to expand capacity and fulfill orders, Caixin said.
Business confidence was at its highest for more than a decade in hopes of recovery from the pandemic, Caixin said.
“The outbreaks of Covid-19 that occurred in the fall and winter have essentially subsided, and the service sector has quickly recovered with the expansion of supply and demand,” said said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group.
China’s official non-manufacturing purchasing managers index, a competing gauge, showed even better results last week. The index jumped to 56.3 in March from 51.4 in February, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Caixin’s PMI is more oriented towards small companies, which tend to be more volatile. The official gauge is weighted towards large companies and public enterprises.
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