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Services hit by poor demand, graft blitz
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

CHINA'S service activity cooled in April due to falling demand amid a slowing economy and the government's anti-corruption campaign, a survey showed yesterday.

The Non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, a comprehensive gauge of the vitality of China's service industry, lost 1.1 points from a month earlier to 54.5 in April, said the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.

A reading above 50 means expanding business, and the index has been above that level in the past one year.

"Although the index still points at expansion, it is a really modest expansion," said Li Maoyu, an analyst at Changjiang Securities Co. "Both manufacturing and service sectors are under pressure of shrinking demand - a result of the economic slowdown."

The component indices showed that new orders decreased 1.1 points from a month earlier to 50.9, indicating slower growth of demand in April.

Index of prices slumped 4.2 points to 47.6, meaning price contraction for the first time in one year. But the business expectation rose to 62.5 in April, up 0.1 points from that in March and reflecting relatively positive sentiment among service providers, the federation said.

China's gross domestic product grew 7.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, slowing from 7.9 percent in the final quarter of 2012. The weakening growth has triggered calls for tightening policies to be lifted, especially when inflation eased to 2.1 percent in March.

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