Buoyed by new export orders, the massive manufacturing sector in China grew at its most rapid rate in seven months in October, a private survey revealed on Friday, Reuters reports. The news supports signs that the economy is stabilizing prior to a key government meeting on economic reform.
The final HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 50.9, up from 50.2 the previous month and no different from a preliminary flash estimate that was released last week.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a figure below it indicates contraction.
As China's official PMI -- released earlier on Thursday -- showed, manufacturing growth is 51.4, the highest in 18 months.
Weighted more toward larger and state-owned enterprises, the official PMI often leads to more favorable results than the private survey, which tends to focus on smaller and private-sector firms, according to Reuters.
One surprise of the HSBC survey was a jump in new export orders to 51.3, up from the initial reading of 50.8. Many enterprises surveyed revealed stronger demand from the U.S.
Domestic new orders grew at their speediest pace since March, but were down a bit on the flash estimate number.
At the Communist Party's third plenary meeting to be held Nov. 9-12, signs that China's economy is performing favorably will help the government push a restructuring agenda toward one that's driven more by consumer demand than by investment/credit.
As Reuters points out, from January to September, China's economy grew 7.7 percent from the prior year, setting it on course to attain a 2013 target of 7.5 percent -- the weakest growth rate, however, since 1990.