October 24, 2012 - 10:36 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - China's manufacturing improved this month, adding to signs a recovery might be taking shape after a sharp slump in the world's No. 2 economy, The Associated Press reported.
A preliminary version of HSBC's monthly purchasing managers' index rose to a three-month high of 49.1 points on a 100-point scale, the bank said. That still was below the 50-point level that indicates a contraction but was a strong improvement from September's 47.9.
That added to data last week that showed retail sales and investment picking up. Economic growth in the three months ending in September fell to a three and a half year low of 7.4 percent but the decline was much gentler than in earlier quarters. Activity grew by 2.2 percent over the previous quarter, the biggest such gain in a year.
HSBC Corp. said the preliminary reading is based on responses from 85 to 90 percent of the 420 companies it surveys each month. The final index is due out Nov. 1.
"October's flash PMI reading continues to recover for the second month, thanks in part to a gradual improvement in the new orders index, which picked up to a six-month high," said HSBC economist Hongbin Qu in a statement.
But Qu warned that challenges "still abound" and the job market faces pressure. "This calls for a continuation of policy easing in the coming months to secure a firmer growth recovery," he said.
The Chinese numbers are rare good news for the world economy, which has slowed as Europe's chronic debt crisis worsened and the American economy stagnated.