Key pointsThis is yet another sign of a global slowing economy.
- Growth of output eases to marginal pace
- Quickest rate of job shedding since March 2009
- Marked falls in input costs and output charge
January data signalled a deterioration of operating conditions in China’s manufacturing sector for the first time in six months. The deterioration of the headline PMI largely reflected weaker expansions of both output and new business over the month. Firms also cut their staffing levels at the quickest pace since March 2009. On the price front, average production costs declined at a marked rate, while firms lowered their output charges for the second successive month.
After adjusting for seasonal factors, the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) posted at 49.5 in January, down fractionally from the earlier flash reading of 49.6, and down from 50.5 in December. This signaled the first deterioration of operating conditions in China’s manufacturing sector since July.
Production levels continued to increase in January, extending the current sequence of expansion to six months. However, the rate of growth eased to a marginal pace.
Employment levels at Chinese manufacturers fell for the third consecutive month in January. Moreover, it was the quickest reduction of payroll numbers since March 2009. Job shedding was generally attributed by panelists to the non-replacement of voluntary leavers as well as reduced output requirements. Despite the marked reduction of headcounts, the level of unfinished business at goods producers rose only fractionally over the month.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock