| Global Times | March 05, 2012 01:15
By Zhu Li
China's non-manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in three months in February, with the non-manufacturing purchasing manager's index (PMI) falling to 48.4 from January's 52.9, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement over the weekend.
"After the Spring Festival, there was a decline of activities in consumer industries like retail and catering, which caused a slowdown in the overall economy," said Cai Jin, vice chairman of the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, which co-released the figures with the NBS. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion, while one below 50 indicates contraction. The figure for non-manufacturing PMI in December was 56.
"Rising prices, for instance the hike in gasoline price last month, have also curbed domestic consumption to some extent," said Tian Yun, vice president of the China Macro Economics Institute.
The sub-index for real estate orders stood at 40.5 in February, up 4.8 percent month-on-month, which shows a slight rebound in the sector.
The sub-index has remained below 50 for 22 consecutive months. Tian noted that the non-manufacturing index is expected to climb back to 50 next month, given that the country's manufacturing sector is expanding and China could secure a soft landing this year.
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