April 3, 2009 / 1:23 AM / in 9 years

PMI shows China economy may have bottomed out-official

BEIJING, April 3 (Reuters) - A rebound in China’s official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) in March shows that the Chinese economy may have bottomed out, China’s chief statistics official said.

China’s official PMI, a measure of activity in the manufacturing sector, rose to 52.4 in March from 49.0 in February, marking the first time the index has been in expansionary territory since September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. [ID:nPEK365040].

“The continuous increase in PMI, along with positive signs I can witness from different places, showed that the Chinese economy may have started to warm up,” Ma Jiantang, the head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, told the China Information Daily, the statistics bureau’s mouthpiece.

The March PMI also showed that China’s economic stimulus measures had created demand and boosted growth, he said.

Ma’s comments joined a chorus by an increasing number of economists and officials who argue that the worst time for the world’s third-largest economy may be over.

“This move implies China’s economy has returned to an expansion track after five consecutive months of contraction since last October,” Morgan Stanley economists Steven Zhang and Qing Wang said in a note to clients.

Data from a scattering of other major economies around the world is also showing tentative signs that the sharp global downturn may be bottoming out. [ID:nN022440] (Reporting by Zhou Xin)

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