- Activity in China’s manufacturing sector likely shrank for an eight straight month in March, but at a slower pace than in February as a reviving property market gave a much-needed boost to sales of steel and other construction materials, economists polled by Reuters said.
- The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is expected to rise to 49.3 in March from 49.0 a month earlier, according to a median forecast of 32 economists in a Reuters poll. February’s reading was the weakest since November 2011.
- Although the forecast rise implies a slower rate of shrinkage, it is still below the 50.0 mark which separates expansion from contraction.
- China’s factory sector has been in a prolonged slowdown, weighed down by weak global demand for the country’s exports and overcapacity in key sectors such steel and basic materials.