China’s Service Sector Grows Most Since 2010

China’s service sector expanded at the fastest pace in more than a decade in June, driven by strong orders as measures related to the coronavirus pandemic were relaxed, survey data from IHS Markit showed Friday.

The Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 58.4 in June from 55.0 in May. The rate of expansion was the fastest since April 2010. A score above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

Total new orders advanced at the quickest pace since August 2010 driven by improving market conditions and new export work expanded for the first time since January.

Firms widely reported that overall market conditions had continued to improve following an easing of measures related to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Nonetheless, service providers reported another fall in workforce numbers. As new business increased, outstanding workloads logged a renewed rise in June.

On the price front, the survey showed a slight drop in input prices at the end of the second quarter. At the same time, prices charged by services companies were broadly unchanged in June, thereby ending a six-month period of decline.

Service providers expressed stronger optimism towards the 12-month outlook for business activity in June.

The composite output index rose to 55.7 in June from 54.5 in May, to signal a sharp and accelerated increase in overall Chinese business activity.

“Although businesses were optimistic about the economic outlook, they remained cautious about increasing hiring, with employment in both the manufacturing and services sectors shrinking,” Wang Zhe, a senior economist at Caixin Insight Group said.

Addressing the employment problem requires not only macro policies to further promote work resumption, but also more targeted relief measures introduced by governments to tide companies over, said Wang.

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