HONG KONG (AP) — Activity at China’s factories and services companies accelerated last month to the highest level in more than two years, in the latest sign that the world’s No. 2 economy is stabilizing, according to official data released Thursday.
The monthly purchasing managers’ index by the Chinese Federation of Logistics and Purchasing climbed last month to 51.7 from 51.2 in October.
The last time the index was at this level was July 2014.
A separate index compiled by financial publication Caixin showed that factory activity eased from the previous month but still maintained a robust pace. The index slipped to 50.9 from 51.2 previously.
The two indexes are based on a 100-point scale with the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction.
In another upbeat sign, service sector activity gained further momentum as the official non-manufacturing PMI rose to its highest since June 2014, climbing to 54.7 from 54.0.
Both the official and private indexes for the country’s outsize manufacturing sector are seen as important proxies for the wider Chinese economy, which posted steady growth of 6.7 percent in the latest quarter.
China’s economy has cooled gradually over the past six years as Beijing tries to pivot it away from heavy reliance on export-based manufacturing and investment toward consumer spending.
Analyst say the latest factory numbers reflect how China’s larger, state-owned enterprises, which are more heavily represented by the federation’s survey, are bigger beneficiaries of government stimulus measures aimed at shoring up growth than the small and midsized private businesses that Caixin’s survey focuses on.
“While today’s data suggest that growth remains strong, much of the current recovery has been driven by policy stimulus, the boost from which is likely fade soon,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.