After adjusting for seasonal factors, the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) posted at 50.8 in November, up slightly from the earlier flash reading, and little-changed from 50.9 October. Though marginal, it was the second-highest index reading in eight months.
Production levels at Chinese manufacturers increased for the fourth month running in November, and at the fastest rate since March. Growth was supported by a quicker expansion of total new business. That was despite new export orders rising at a fractional pace, suggesting that new order growth was largely driven by domestic demand.
Despite the greater volume of new business, manufacturers cut their staffing levels in November, reversing a slight expansion of payroll numbers in October. That said, the rate of job shedding was only
marginal, with a number of panellists citing company down-sizing policies and the non-replacement of voluntary leavers.
Consequently, backlogs of work continued to increase in November. Moreover, the rate of backlog accumulation was the second-strongest in over two years. (…)
Firms chose to partially pass on their higher cost burdens to clients in November, and raised their selling prices marginally. Moreover, it was the weakest rate of output charge inflation in four months, with some firms lowering their prices in an effort to boost sales.
The official PMI came in unchanged at 51.4 in November but revealed a second straight month of decline in the new orders sub-index, which dropped to 52.3 from 52.5 though export new orders were slightly higher, rising to 50.6 from 50.4.
The sub-index for smaller companies was much weaker at 48.3, down from 48.5 and losing ground for the fourth straight month. The measure for large companies was at a 19-month high, however, at 52.4 and up from 52.3 the previous month.