BEIJING (AP) — Chinese factory activity rebounded in January from three months of contraction, adding to signs the world’s second-largest economy might be recovering from a painful slump, an official survey showed Tuesday.
A monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group rose to 50.1 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity growing. That was an unusually large gain of 3.1 points from December’s 47.
China’s economic growth sank to 2.9% over a year earlier in the final three months of 2022, but economists point to increased investment and improved consumer spending as signs activity is recovering.
Manufacturers have been hurt by lackluster U.S. and European demand for exports after central banks raised interest rates to fight inflation. Chinese consumer demand weakened following COVID-19 outbreaks and a downturn in the real estate industry.
New orders, new export orders, factory activity and employment improved in January, the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing reported.
That shows “economic recovery momentum is relatively strong,” economist Zhang Liqun said in a statement issued by the two groups.