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Service activity at worst level in nearly years, HSBC says

CHINA'S service activity among private companies delivered its worst performance in almost nine years, a survey showed today.

The HSBC China Services Business Activity Index, a gauge of operating conditions in private service companies, posted 50 in July, down from 53.1 a month earlier. It was the lowest reading since data collection began in November 2005.

It ended 104 straight months of a reading above 50, which indicates expansion.

Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC, said the weakness in the headline data likely reflected the impact of the ongoing property slowdown in many cities.

"Property activity, such as agencies and residential services, are seeing less business," Qu said, adding there were some positives in that the employment and business sentiment indices remained stable.

Qu said the service sector could see some support due to a recovery in investments in following months. But today's data pointed to the need for continued policy support to offset the drag from the property correction.


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