China March factory activity seen contracting for fourth month

China March factory activity seen contracting for fourth month

Factory activity in China likely contracted for a fourth straight month in March, a Reuters poll showed, suggesting the economy is still losing steam and adding to worries about faltering global growth.

A downbeat reading, coming on the heels of the sharpest fall in industrial profits in at least 7 years, would underline the need for more stimulus as Beijing struggles to right the economy and end a bruising trade war with the United States.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is forecast at 49.5, up slightly from February’s 49.2 but still below the 50 level separating expansion from contraction on a monthly basis, according to the median forecast of 24 economists.

Seasonal factors likely drove the uptick in the factory gauge in March as factories ramped up activity after long Lunar New Year holidays in February, analysts said. Some steel mills have also started increasing output as winter smog restrictions end.

While weakness in the headline reading is widely expected, investors and policymakers are likely to focus on whether there is any improvement in domestic orders in response to a series of growth boosting measures in recent months.

Regulators have fast tracked billions of dollars in infrastructure investment, but construction is only beginning to pick up with the return of warmer weather.

Export orders are likely to remain weak, as China’s trade-oriented neighbors Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have all seen further signs of slackening demand, both in China and elsewhere.

Tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing remain in place as they continue negotiations. But eight months into the trade war that has disrupted the flow of billions of dollars of goods between the world’s two largest economies, it is unclear if a deal acceptable to both sides can be done.

U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday that the United States and China have made progress in all areas under discussion in trade talks, with unprecedented movement on the touchy issue of forced technology transfers.

Much of the data China reported for the first two months of the year pointed to a further weakening in the economy, though officials have largely attributed the declines to distortions created by the long holidays.

Growth in China’s industrial output slumped to a 17-year low in January-February from a year earlier, while investment in the manufacturing sector cooled. Data on Wednesday showed industrial profits fell 14 percent, the sharpest drop since late 2011.

But Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday that earlier policy support measures were gaining traction, while adding that China will cut real interest rate levels and lower financing costs for Chinese companies. He did not elaborate on which interest rate he was referring to.

Earlier this month, Li announced more spending on roads, railways and ports, along with tax cuts of nearly 2 trillion yuan ($297.27 billion) to relieve pressure on strained corporate balance sheets and limit job losses.

Still, both analysts and officials have noted the measures will take some time to be felt.

Beijing is targeting economic growth of 6.0-6.5 percent this year. Actual growth cooled to 6.6 percent last year - the slowest in 28 years.

A private business survey - the Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index (PMI) - which focuses more on small and medium-sized Chinese firms - is expected to show a milder contraction.

The Caixin PMI is forecast to remain at 49.9 for a second month, only marginally below the neutral mark. The private survey is believed to cover smaller, private firms, which have been a key focal point for Beijing’s business support efforts.

The official PMI survey is due out ‪on March 31, along with a sister survey on services. The Caixin manufacturing PMI will come out ‪on April 1 and its services PMI ‪on April 3.

Britain to withdraw nearly all its troops from Afghanistan
Britain to withdraw nearly all its troops from Afghanistan
France to allow Georgian citizens find legal employment in country by end of 2021
France to allow Georgian citizens find legal employment in country by end of 2021
France suspends all flights with Brazil due to virus variant
France suspends all flights with Brazil due to virus variant
Loading Bars
Belarus expresses readiness to support Azerbaijan in restoration of liberated Karabakh (PHOTO)
Hydrocarbons to supply half of world’s energy needs by 2050
Iranian currency rates for April 14
All sanctions against Iran should be lifted unconditionally, Russia says
Turkmenistan losing popularity among Turkish job seekers
India's new coronavirus infections hit record of 184,372
Azerbaijan's Xalq Sigorta insurance company talks 2020 net profits
Oil maintains upward momentum but virus concerns cap gains
Britain to withdraw nearly all its troops from Afghanistan
Turkey's COVID-19 cases hit new peak at 59,000
Tehran to resume flights to London next month: Official
Cargo transportation via railways up in Kazakhstan
France to allow Georgian citizens find legal employment in country by end of 2021
Brazil reports 3,808 single-day deaths from COVID-19
Biden invited to address U.S. Congress on April 28
South Africa suspends J&J vaccine rollout
Azerbaijan to become regional hub for Industry 4.0 development - US IDC
U.S. administers 192.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: CDC
France suspends all flights with Brazil due to virus variant
UK records another 2,472 coronavirus cases, 23 deaths
Boeing reports first quarter deliveries
Biden set to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 567,000 in past day — WHO
Iranian nuclear deal meeting in Vienna rescheduled to April 15
Kazakhstan expects positive dynamics in oil industry
Erdogan reveals stricter COVID-19 measures in Turkey during Ramadan
Iran's annual iron ore concentrate output nears 50mn tons
Deputy Finance Minister: Georgia ranks first in Europe with economic growth rate according to IMF
Southern Gas Corridor increases liquidity in European gas markets
Uzbekistan-India trade grows to record high in 2020
Azerbaijan plans to organize personal account system for auditors
China's 2M2021 import of Azerbaijani products surges in value
Exchange of all data necessary to conduct effective demining is required - OSCE MG
Baku to host international gymnastics competitions again
German gov't approves uniform nationwide COVID-19 response measures
Russia's daily COVID-19 cases record lowest in months
Iran to start 60% enrichment tonight: Nuclear spokesman
Israel to allow vaccinated tourists in starting late May
Biden confirms invitation to Putin to take part in climate summit
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Belarus hold unofficial meeting
IMF unveils forecast on Azerbaijan's oil export for 2021-2022
Azerbaijani FM, Romanian ambassador stress high level of development of bilateral political relations (PHOTO)
Special equipment of Belarus assembled in Azerbaijan may be exported to Turkey
Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry responds to Armenia's statement on War Trophy Park
President of Belarus pays working visit to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Moscow, Tehran attach great importance to North-South Corridor – Russian FM
Azerbaijani president gives weighty answer to Armenia’s disinformation campaign - Official (VIDEO)
Belarus reveals plans for oil purchases from Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan’s FlyArystan launching direct flights to Georgia
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy printed materials
Azerbaijan's Aghdam needs to be fully rebuilt - German historian (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's PM meets with BP's regional president
Ukraine may take part in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
President Ilham Aliyev: Pakistan was among countries that openly supported Azerbaijan from first days of confrontation
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Sudan due to send first delegation to Israel next week
Liabilities of Bank Melli Iran’s Baku branch increase
Armenia obligated under int'l law to provide mine maps to Azerbaijan - Matthew Bryza
Footage from Azerbaijani Jabrayil's Sadi village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan, Ukraine discuss full resumption of mutual flights
Oil exports via Barents Sea in Lukoil system increased
Hydrometeorology in Azerbaijan needs young experts for technologies - ministry
Azerbaijan shares latest data on mine clearance work carried out on liberated lands
Co-op between Iran, Russia to be effective in activating nuclear deal – Rouhani
2021 demand for OPEC crude to be higher than in 2020
Assets of Iranian Bank Melli's branch in Azerbaijan increase
On Independence Day eve Israel's population over 9.3m
Iran still waiting for S.Korea to provide solution, release its blocked assets
Azerbaijan issues data on number of COVID-19 vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,457 more COVID-19 cases, 2,002 recoveries
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2021 liquids supply
Rosatom can take part in developing green energy in Azerbaijan - expert
Repairing of last well in Iran's Naft Shahr field launched
Iran in favor of strengthening relations with Russia – President Rouhani
Azerbaijan Railways builds co-op on transiting additional goods
IMF talks forecast of money supply growth in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022
European Hydrogen Backbone’s updated cost revealed
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's oil, non-oil GDP
Cargo movements in Iran’s Qeshm port down
Azerbaijan expects tourism sector to recover by summer
Plan on budget revenues surpassed in Kazakhstan
Scotland to ease some COVID-19 restrictions early
Around 70% of European infrastructure to start transporting hydrogen
U.S. will base 500 additional troops in Germany
Russia documents 8,173 coronavirus cases in past day, lowest figure since September 28
Kazakhstan names value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
Iran's mobile phone imports increase
Azerbaijani president signs order on hosting European Football Championship matches in Baku
Kazakhstan drafts pricing rules for exported crude oil, gas condensate
Retail trade indicators decrease in Kazakhstan
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan records decrease in oil output
Belarusian IT company keen to expand its activities in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company announces its production plan
Uzbekistan building modern wastewater treatment facility at Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy engines
Russian, Azerbaijani military discuss Iskander-M missile debris in Karabakh region - Russian official
All news