Business

Manufacturing in China expands

BEIJING: Activity in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly expanded at the fastest pace in nearly five years last month, adding to evidence that the world's second-largest economy has gained momentum early this year as construction booms.

But while factory output accelerated and new orders from home and abroad improved, economists are increasingly questioning how long China's solid growth can be sustained.

For now, though, China's factories appear to have shifted into higher gear, encouraged by the strongest profit growth in six years.

China's official Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 51.8 last month from February's 51.6, data showed yesterday.

STRONGEST

It was the strongest reading since April 2012 and well above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

Economists had expected 51.6, and manufacturers also stopped shedding jobs last month for the first time in nearly five years as profitability improved. - REUTERS

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