China’s Service Sector Logs Strong Growth In December

China’s service sector continued to recover from the pandemic driven downturn in December, survey results from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.

The Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 56.3 in December from 57.8 in November. A score above 50 indicates expansion.

Although the pace of growth moderated, it remained among the steepest recorded over the past decade and signaled a marked recovery from the Covid-19 outbreak at the start of the year.

The softer rise in overall activity coincided with a slower expansion of total new work at the end of 2020. The slowdown occurred alongside a weaker upturn in foreign demand.

Meanwhile, data pointed to a second successive monthly rise in workforce numbers at Chinese service providers.

Input prices increased at a softer pace after rising at the sharpest rate since August 2010. Prices charged by service providers increased further in December.
Notably, the rate of inflation was the quickest recorded since the start of 2008.

Service sector firms generally expect activity levels to rise over the next year. The degree of optimism was the strongest since April 2011 and above the historical average.

The composite output index, which is a weighted average of the manufacturing output index and the services business activity index, fell to 55.8 in December from a more than ten-year high of 57.5 in November.

“Looking ahead, we expect the post-epidemic economic recovery to continue for several months, and macroeconomic indicators will be stronger over the next six months due to the low bases in the first half of 2020,” Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group said.

Entrepreneurs were confident about further improvement to the economy in the upcoming year, the economist said.

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