A shock setback for China’s manufacturers in April fuelled concerns over the world’s second-biggest economy today in the wake of its slower-than-expected start to the year.
Falling export orders were the main culprit behind the surprise wobble as the sector’s official purchasing managers index fell from March’s 11-month high to 50.6. The slowdown confounded expectations of more rapid growth as key export markets in the eurozone and the US suffer.
The disappointing data raise concerns over China’s overall growth in the second quarter of this year after it expanded at an annual pace of just 7.7 per cent in the opening three months.
While impressive by Western standards, it fell short of hopes of 8 per cent growth, and new president Xi Jinping recently warned that the days of “ultra-high speed growth” are over. China’s new government has signalled it will step up infrastructure investment, which analysts said will provide support for the economy in the second quarter.
“China’s economic growth has been disappointing and general inflation pressure is largely non-existent,” Société Générale analyst Wei Yao said.
European markets were closed for the May Day holiday, but the poor news sent copper prices slipping and weighed on mining stocks.Reuse content