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Caixin service PMI rises to four-month high

CHINA'S service activity expanded at the fastest pace in four months in May, a private survey showed Monday.

The Caixin General Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 52.8 in May, up from 51.5 in April, the strongest reading since January's 53.1, according to a survey conducted by financial information service provider Markit and sponsored by Caixin Media Co. Ltd.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 represents contraction.

The Caixin survey showed that service companies continued to add employees in May, although the rate of job creation eased to the weakest in the current nine-month stretch of above-50 readings.

Companies also reported robust demand from clients last month, which led new orders to increase at the quickest rate seen this year.

Lifted by the strong performance in the service sector, the Caixin China Composite Output Index, which covers manufacturing and service companies, rose to 51.5 in May from April's 10-month low of 51.2.

"The improvement in the service sector bolstered the Chinese economy in May," said Zhong Zhengsheng, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin Insight Group.

Service industries -- which include finance, real estate services and marketing, transport and retail -- have become an increasingly important part of the Chinese economy, reflecting a shift away from its dependence on traditional heavy-industry manufacturing and exports.

The Caixin service survey is consistent with the acceleration in the non-manufacturing PMI released last week by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which showed a reading of 54.5 for May, up from 54.0 in April.

Strengthening activity in service industries contrasts with weakness in China's manufacturing sector, with the May reading of the Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI released last Thursday falling to 49.6, the first contraction since June 2016.


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