China's services sector expanded at the quickest pace in 17 months in December as new orders increased rapidly in a further sign that the economy was stabilizing, a private survey showed yesterday.
The Caixin General Services Purchasing Managers' Index edged up to 53.4 last month from 53.1 in November, according to the survey conducted by financial information service provider Markit and sponsored by Caixin Media.
It was the highest reading since July 2015 as demand in the sector picked up.
A sub index showed growth in new work at services companies quickened to a 17-month record, according to the survey.
The fast growth in the services sector echoed an increase in manufacturing activities as the Caixin General Manufacturing PMI, released on Wednesday, rose to a four-year high of 51.9 points.
"Manufacturing and services both expanded in December, showing that recovery in the economy continued," said Zhong Zhengsheng, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group. "The Chinese economy performed better in the fourth quarter than in the previous three quarters" adding that he was certain the government's full year growth target of between 6.5 and 7 percent will be reached.
In the first three quarters, China's GDP grew 6.7 percent, within the official target of 6.5 to 7 percent. But it was 0.2 percentage points lower than the annual growth in 2015.
Services made up 58.5 percent of GDP growth, up 3.4 percentage points from a year earlier.
The Caixin PMIs, slanted toward private and export-oriented companies, indicated the private sector expanded in December and outperformed China's official PMI.
China's official PMI, released on Sunday by the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and focusing on state-owned manufacturers, dipped to 51.4 in December from November's 51.7. But PMI stayed in the expansion zone for the fifth straight month with the reading above 50.
In the services sector, the official non-manufacturing PMI dipped to 54.5 from November's 54.7 points.
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