* China HSBC services PMI at lowest in over 2 years
* Other services and factory surveys also point to some loss
* Activity still expanding but at slower clip
BEIJING, Jan 6 Growth in China's services
industries slowed in December, a pair of surveys showed,
mirroring a slowdown in manufacturing and confirming views that
the world's second-largest economy lost steam at the end of last
The HSBC/Markit Economics services Purchasing Managers'
Index (PMI) dropped to 50.9 in December, its lowest since August
2011, from 52.5 in November, HSBC said on Monday.
New business expansion was the slowest in six months.
The PMI follows a similar survey by China's National Bureau
of Statistics on Friday, which showed a slowdown in
service-sector growth to a four-month low of 54.6 from the
previous month's 56.0..
Both surveys follow two other PMIs last week that showed
China's factory activity slowed in December, suggesting the
moderation in the country's growth in the final quarter of 2013
But all four measures remained above the 50 point level that
separates expansion in activity from contraction.
China's economy has regained some momentum since mid-year
after a protracted slowdown. While it was expected to lose steam
as the government reins in rampant credit growth and demand for
China's exports remains subdued, activity has remained resilient
into the December quarter.
Beijing has said it will accept slower growth as it tries to
reshape the economy towards more sustainable growth, based on
consumer demand, after three decades of breakneck expansion led
by exports and credit.
China's economic growth is likely to come in at 7.6 percent
in 2013, the government has said, just above the official
target of 7.5 percent and slightly below the 7.7 percent in
2012. Data for 2013 GDP is set to be released on Jan. 20.
The weaker PMIs added steam to a fall in Asian markets on
Monday, on concern over whether China's slowdown will continue
into the first quarter.
"What has been the principal sort of driver of the market
since the beginning of the new year has been a disappointment of
the Chinese PMI data," said Guy Stear, Asian credit and equity
strategist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong, adding that growth
in China is a "focal point" for markets.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan
was down 0.6 percent, reaching a two-week low
and adding to a 1.1 percent drop on Friday. China's CSI300 index
fell 2.5 percent, hitting a five-month low
The HSBC/Markit services PMI's sub-index measuring new
business orders dropped to a six-month low of 51.8 in December
on subdued client demand.
However, labour market conditions improved for the fourth
consecutive month, with the employment sub-index growing at the
strongest pace since June, mainly due to company expansions, the
"We expect the steady expansion of manufacturing sectors to
lend support to service sector growth," said HSBC's China chief
economist, Qu Hongbin.
"Moreover, the implementation of reforms such as lowering
the entry barriers for private business in service sectors and
expanded VAT reforms should help to revitalise service sectors
in the year ahead," Qu said.
The HSBC/Markit PMI covers more smaller private firms than
the official one, which is more weighted towards bigger state
owned enterprises that can weather slowdowns better.