China March Flash HSBC PMI Contracts to 11-Month Low, Fans Policy Easing Expectations (Reuters, Mar 24) HSBC/Markit's preliminary purchasing managers' index for China's manufacturing sector eased to a reading of 49.2 for March. This compares with a final February reading of 50.7. A sub-index measuring new orders dropped to 49.3, a new 11-month low. Another sub-gauge measuring employment fell for the 17th straight month to a low last seen during the height of the global financial crisis.

China Business Confidence Dips in First Quarter, Central Bank Survey Shows (Reuters, Mar 20) An index measuring confidence among China's entrepreneurs dropped to 59.2% in the first quarter, down 1.8 percentage points from the prior quarter, according to the results of a survey by the People's Bank of China. Drops were also seen in bankers' attitudes toward monetary policy and the country's economic trajectory. In a separate survey, 48.8% of households saw consumer prices as “unreasonably high” in the first quarter, down 4.1 percentage points from the October-December period.

OECD Expects 7% China Growth in 2015, Urges Freer Yuan (Reuters, Mar 20) The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development foresees China's GDP expanding by 7% in 2015 and 6.9% in 2016, according to a recent survey of the country's economy. The Paris-based group also expects Chinese exports of goods and services to grow by 5.5% in 2015 and 6% in 2016.

China February FDI Grows at Slowest Pace in Six Months, Outbound Flows Jump (Reuters, Mar 17) China received $8.6 billion in FDI in February, up just 0.9% from the same month last year. In comparison, January's FDI total was up 29.4% year-on-year to $13.9 billion. The slowdown has been attributed to concerns about overcapacity in China's manufacturing sector as well as the irregular timing of the Chinese New Year holiday. During January and February combined, FDI was up 17% year-on-year to $22.5 billion. Specifically, investment from the US was down 31.8% during the first two months, while Japanese investment was down 15.9%.

China February New Home Prices Fall at Fastest Rate on Record, Add Risk to Growth Target (Reuters, Mar 18) Average new home prices in 70 major Chinese cities fell 5.7% year-on-year during February, accelerating from January's drop of 5.1% and marking the sixth straight month of decline, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Month-on-month, prices were down 0.4%, the same rate of decrease recorded in January. Only 4 cities tracked by the NBS saw new home prices increase on a monthly basis, down from 6 in January. With the real estate sector accounting for about 15% of China's economy, ongoing signs of market weakness have stoked concerns about the ability of officials to reach this year's 7% GDP growth target.

 

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