The HSBC flash PMI for March is 48.1; the fifth straight month of contraction and the worst for four months.
New orders and exports, both closely-watched components of the index, weren’t so bad, says HSBC’s China economist Hongbin Qu. But employment was less encouraging:
External demand remained in contraction territory, but the decline was at a slower pace, implying that there are no improvements in the demand outlook. More worryingly, employment recorded a new low since March 2009, suggesting slowing manufacturing production was hindering enterprises’ hiring desire.