Improved economic conditions seen in China and much of Asia
HONG KONG — Two surveys released Thursday buttressed the view that the giant Chinese economy is picking up a little speed after months of deceleration.
One of the monthly polls was conducted by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing in Beijing; the British bank HSBC released the other. Both showed that manufacturing conditions improved in October as the effects of recent stimulus measures and somewhat-improved overseas demand began to filter through to companies making products as varied as furniture, garments and plastic goods.
The official purchasing managers index for October, from the logistics federation, came in at 50.2, rising above the 50-point mark, which separates contraction from expansion, for the first time since July.
The HSBC reading, which was more focused on smaller and medium-size companies, rose to an eight-month high of 49.5 in October, up from 47.9 in September. The reading was a significant improvement from the preliminary figure of 49.1 that the bank published last week.
Over the past month or so, anecdotal evidence and early data signaled that the Chinese economy might have finally bottomed out. Flagging overseas demand and the delayed effects of measures aimed at cooling inflation and a red-hot property market caused China to lose steam this year.
The indexes released Thursday, however, backed up the impression that the economy might enjoy a modest recovery in coming months.
“Overall, this reflects the impact of policy easing that has accelerated since May, including pickup in infrastructure investment, fiscal expenditure, accommodative liquidity condition and monetary policy stance,” economists at JPMorgan said in a note.
A stabilization in the housing market in recent months also provided support to domestic demand, they added.
HSBC purchasing managers’ indexes for other countries showed the picture of modest improvements extending across much of the rest of Asia in October.
The readings for Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan all jumped more than a point from September.
South Korea also reported trade data Thursday that showed exports picking up again in October, with a 1.2 percent gain from a year earlier. Although the increase was small, it topped expectations and was a turnaround from the decline of 2 percent recorded in September.