China's factory activity shrinks for fourth month
Factory activity in China shrank in August for the fourth month in a row as the United States ramped up trade pressure
China's domestic demand remained sluggish, pointing to a further slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
Persistent weakness in China’s vast manufacturing sector could fuel expectations that Beijing needs to roll out stimulus more quickly, and more aggressively, to weather the biggest downturn in decades.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in August, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, versus 49.7 in July, below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
“Frontloading of exports to the U.S. ahead of higher tariffs supported trade and overall activity growth, but this effect will likely fade in the next few months,” said analysts at Goldman Sachs in a note.
Manufacturers in consumption-oriented industries such as the auto sector have been especially vulnerable. Carmakers such as Geely (0175.HK) and Great Wall (601633.SS) have slashed expectations for sales and profits.
The data showed activity at medium- and small-sized firms contracted, even as large manufacturers, many backed by the government, managed to expand in August.
Factories continued to shed jobs in August amid the uncertain business outlook. The employment sub-index dropped to 46.9, compared with 47.1 in July.
August saw dramatic escalations in the bitter year-long Sino-U.S. trade row, with President Donald Trump announcing early in the month that he would impose new tariffs on Chinese goods from today and China letting its yuan currency sharply weaken days later.
After Beijing hit back with retaliatory tariffs, Trump said existing levies would also be raised in coming months. The combined moves now effectively cover all of China’s exports to the United States.
Trump said late on Friday that trade teams from both sides continue to talk and will meet in September, but tariff increases on Chinese goods set to go into effect on Sunday will not be delayed.
The U.S. president had said earlier in the week that China wants to reach a deal “very badly”, citing what he described as increasing economic pressure on Beijing and job losses.Published: by Radio NewsHub