Export orders at Chinese factories dip in July, PMI shows

  August 2--CHINA's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.4 in July, down from the previous month's 51.7, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

  Growth in China's manufacturing sector cooled slightly in July as foreign demand for Chinese goods slackened, but a government-led infrastructure push kept construction humming and helped prop up the world's second-largest economy, reported Reuters.

  Export orders, which helped Chinese factories stage a strong recovery in June, had ebbed in July, with manufacturers reporting slackening foreign demand. Overall factory production expanded less quickly compared with June.

  New export orders slipped to 50.9 in July from 52.0 in June, helping drag the index for overall factory orders to 52.8 from 53.1.

  "The breakdown suggests weaker foreign demand is partly to blame - the new export orders fell by a larger margin than overall new orders," Singapore-based China economist at Capital Economics, Julian Evans-Pritchard, was quoted as saying.

  Domestically, the construction sector remained robust as the government stepped up investment in infrastructure projects. Separate data showed China's steel sector in rude health, expanding in July at its fastest pace since April 2016.

  The PMI reading on the construction sector showed a solid pickup to 62.5 in July from 61.4 in June.

  Raw material inventories eased just slightly in July, according to the survey, while imports were almost steady and suggested stable domestic demand.

  A year-long construction boom helped China post stronger-than-expected economic growth of 6.9 per cent in the first half of 2017.

  While the PMI data hinted at a slowdown, Beijing is still expected to meet its economic growth target of around 6.5 per cent for the full year.


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