BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese factory activity unexpectedly contracted in September as high commodity prices and power cuts put pressure on manufacturers in the world’s second-largest economy, while the services was resuming expansion after COVID-19 epidemics receded.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) was 49.6 in September from 50.1 in August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Thursday, sliding into contraction for the first time since February. 2020.
Analysts in a Reuters poll expected the index to remain stable at 50.1, unchanged from the previous month.
The 50 point mark separates growth from contraction.
The Chinese economy quickly recovered from a pandemic-induced slump last year, but momentum has weakened in recent months as the vast manufacturing sector faces rising costs, bottlenecks. production throttling and, more recently, electricity rationing.
A coal shortage, stricter emissions standards, and strong demand from manufacturers and industry have pushed coal prices to record highs and triggered widespread restrictions on electricity use in at least 20 provinces and regions.
Rising commodity prices, especially metals and semiconductors, also weighed on manufacturers’ profits. Chinese industrial company profits in August slowed for the sixth consecutive month.
On a more optimistic note, the official non-manufacturing PMI index in September was at 53.2, rebounding from 47.5 in August, according to NBS data.
COVID-19-related restrictions last month caused a sharp contraction in service sector activity for the first time since the pandemic peaked last year.
September’s official composite PMI index, which includes both manufacturing and services activity, stood at 51.7 from 48.9 in August.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo and Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Tom Hogue and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)