BEIJING Activity in China's services industry ticked up in February from a 2-1/2-year low the previous month, a private survey showed on Wednesday, confirming other data showing a pick-up in services even as manufacturing activity slows.
The HSBC/Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 51.0 in February from January's 50.7, buoyed by new orders, remaining above the 50 line that separates expansion from contraction.
The rise tallied with the official non-manufacturing PMI, released earlier in the week, which showed activity at a three-month high, and contrasted with two surveys that showed manufacturing activity slowed in the month.
"February data signalled stronger expansions of business activity and new work at Chinese service-sector firms," HSBC/Markit said in a statement.
"That said, the rates of growth remained subdued in the context of historical data."
The data came as Premier Li Keqiang told China's annual parliament session that expanding domestic demand will be a major economic driver and an important structural adjustment as the country pushes ahead with reforms to promote consumer-led growth.
The PMI found that service-sector firms remained optimistic in February, generally expecting business activity to be higher than current levels in one year.
(Reporting by Jonathan Standing; Editing by John Mair)