China Flash Manufacturing PMI Posts Modest Improvement Even As It Contracts For 12 Months In A Row

Those holding their breath that the PBOC will finally relent and join its "developed world" central planning colleagues in easing - something the tech companies of the world, not to mention everyone else, desperately needs - will have to do so for quite a bit longer (and today's earlier latest reverse repo was merely confirmation of this). The reason is that the just released HSBC Flash PMI for October, the first preliminary snapshot of Chinese data, posted a material rise from 47.9 to 49.1. Yes, this was the 12th consecutive print in sub-50 contraction territory in a row, but the direction is one which may give the economy and the people hope that things are getting better. They most certainly are not, but remember: in China every data point is massaged, manipulated, and then massaged some more before it is finally telegraphed to represent only what the Politburo wants it to say. And as a reminder, China, like the US, has elections (in quotes of course) in two weeks. As such neither the economy will tip the boat, nor the PBOC will drive more inflation at a time when everyone else is already easing. In other words: goldilocks goalseeked data... which for the monetarists was the worst possible outcome, as it means no new and free money.

A chart of HSBC vs Official PMI data:

From HSBC:

Output falls at slower pace in October

  • Key points
  • Flash China Manufacturing PMI™ at 49.1 (47.9 in September). Three-month high.
  • Flash China Manufacturing Output Index at 48.4 (47.3 in September). Three-month high.

Data collected 12–22 October 2012.

The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) is published on a monthly basis approximately one week before final PMI data are released, making the HSBC PMI the earliest available indicator of manufacturing sector operating conditions in China. The estimate is typically based on approximately 85%–90% of total PMI survey responses each month and is designed to provide an accurate indication of the final PMI data.

Commenting on the Flash China Manufacturing PMI survey, Hongbin Qu, Chief Economist, China & Co-Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC said:

“October’s flash PMI reading continues to recover for the second month, thanks in part to a gradual improvement in the new orders index which picked up to a six-month high (albeit marginally below 50). This is helped by the filtering-through of the earlier easing measures. However, external challenges are still abound and the pressures on job market are lingering. This calls for a continuation of policy easing in the coming months to secure a firmer growth recovery.”


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