“China’s manufacturing is expanding at the slowest pace in four months, a private survey showed, underscoring the headwinds faced by policy makers in the world’s second-biggest economy.
The preliminary reading of a Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.4 in February, according to a statement from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics today. That compares with the 52.3 final reading for January and the 52.2 median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. A number above 50 indicates expansion.
Today’s report may damp optimism that an economic rebound is gaining traction following a seven-quarter slowdown and the weakest annual expansion in 13 years. The benchmarkShanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) last week dropped the most since May 2011 on concern the government will expand restrictions on the property market to curb home-price gains.
“It casts some shadow over China’s recovery,” said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong and a former researcher for the International Monetary Fund. “Chinese economic fundamentals may prove weaker than previously expected.”
China’s economy expanded 7.9 percent in the final three months of 2012 from a year earlier, the first pickup in eight quarters. Growth may accelerate to 8.2 percent this quarter, according to the median estimate of 23 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News this month.
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