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The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector came in at 50.5 in March, up from 49.2 in February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Sunday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe attributed the monthly increase in the manufacturing PMI to accelerated production activities and improved domestic demand boosted by government supporting policies, including tax and fee cuts.
The sub-index for production, a major factor used in calculating PMI, rose to a six-month high at 52.7 in March, up 3.2 percentage points from February.
The sub-index for new orders went up 1 percentage point from February to 51.6 in March, the highest in half a year, showing growing momentum in market orders.
The PMI for high-tech manufacturing, equipment manufacturing and consumer goods manufacturing stood at 52, 51.2 and 51.4, respectively, all above the general manufacturing PMI, showing rising strength of new sources of growth.
Large companies saw the manufacturing PMI down 0.4 percentage points to 51.1, whereas the readings for medium-sized and small companies rose 3 and 4 percentage points, respectively.
Sunday's data also showed the PMI for China's non-manufacturing sector stood at 54.8 in March, up from 54.3 in February.