China Services PMI Falls To Record Low On Weak New Order Inflows

This report leaves open the hard landing possibility, as defined by GDP growth under 6%:

China Services PMI Falls To Record Low On Weak New Order Inflows

September 5 (RTTNews) — An indicator of the health of China’s service sector fell to a record low in August, on the back of weak intake of new orders, latest data from Markit Economics showed Monday.

The seasonally adjusted business activity index fell to 50.6 in August from 53.5 in July, pointing to near stagnation in service sector. An index reading above 50 indicates expansion of the sector, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction.

Slowing new business inflows drove the HSBC China Services PMI reading to the lowest level since the series began in November 2005, HSBC chief economist Hongbin Qu said. This reflects the effect of property and credit tightening measures, the economist added.

“That said, the property market is unlikely to collapse not least because of Chinese households’ low leverage ratio and the fact that credit tightening is likely approaching an end. This, plus resilient consumer spending, suggests China’s service sector is likely to see a moderation in growth, and not a meltdown,” Hongbin said.

The composite output index, that measures activity across both manufacturing and service sectors, recorded a score of 50.4, unchanged from July’s 28-month low. The reading pointed to another marginal expansion in Chinese private sector activity.

On the prices front, average cost burdens faced by service providers continued to rise markedly in August, primarily reflecting pressure from higher salary payments. Despite marked cost rises, service sector firms increased their output prices only marginally in August, as strong competitive pressures restricted their pricing power.

According to data from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, or CFLP, Saturday, China’s non-manufacturing sector growth eased in August, largely driven by a slowdown in railway investment. The CFLP Purchasing Managers’ Index for the non-manufacturing sector fell to 57.6 from 59.6 in July. The PMI survey for the manufacturing sector indicated the activity improved slightly in August, signaling a gradual stabilization of the domestic economic situation.

Despite a slight improvement in overall factory sector performance, exports orders declined, reflecting lackluster growth among overseas economies.

China’s economic growth cooled to 9.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter from 9.7 percent in the first quarter, according to government data.