BEIJING — A key indicator of China's manufacturing output fell unexpectedly in January to a six-month low, fueling further concern over the country's potential as a continued growth leader this year.
According to a release on Thursday, the flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 49.6 in January down nearly a point from the December's final reading of 50.5. An index reading below 50 indicates factory production is contracting rather than expanding, a worrying note to those hoping China's economic health was firmly in hand.
In a note with the release, HSBC's lead China economic Qu Hongbin, said weaker domestic demand was largely to blame for the poor showing.
"This implies softening growth momentum for manufacturing sectors, which has already weighed on employment growth," Qu explained. "As inflation is not a concern, the policy focus should tilt towards supporting growth to avoid repeating growth deceleration," from last year.
The HSBC flash MPI is based on a survey of more than 420 manufacturers in China and is widely considered an accurate marker of manufacturing trends. The latest news comes on the heels of also somewhat unexpected overall economic growth data.
On Monday, the National Bureau of Statistics reported the Chinese economy grew by 7.7 percent last year, just slightly ahead of government targets and in spite of trickier economic conditions like wavering manufacturing output and consumer demand. The central government had project 7.6 percent overall growth for 2013. For the year ahead, the forecast has been slowed even more – the World Bank now predicts 7.5 percent growth for China in 2014.
The latest batch of economic date underscores ongoing problems in the world's second-largest economy, with little tangible understanding of how the country's leadership plans to steer the ship. The central government has promised deep reform measures to shore up growth and development, but has yet to reveal precise details on what that means.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)