China March official services PMI edges up to 54.6

BEIJING (Reuters) - Growth in China’s services industry picked up in March, an official survey showed on Saturday, reinforcing views that the world’s second-largest economy got off to a surprisingly strong start to the year.

The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 54.6 from 54.4 in February, which was a four-month low.

The services sector accounts for over half of China’s economy, with rising wages giving Chinese consumers more spending power.

The composite PMI covering both manufacturing and services activity rose to 54.0 in March, from February’s 52.9, well above the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill