BEIJING—Gauges of China’s manufacturing and nonmanufacturing activity climbed to their highest levels in three and eight years, respectively, signaling a broadening recovery in the world’s second-largest economy nearly a year after the coronavirus began its spread.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers index, a key measure of factory activity, rose to 52.1 in November from 51.4 in October, according to data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics. The reading is the highest since September 2017 and topped economists’ expectations for the index to edge up to 51.5 this month.
Meanwhile, China’s nonmanufacturing PMI, which includes services and construction activity, rose in November to 56.4, its highest level since June 2012, from a previous reading of 56.2 in October, the statistics bureau said.
China’s industrial sector has led the nation’s economic recovery since the second quarter of the year, and the official manufacturing PMI has remained above the 50 mark, which separates month-to-month activity expansion from contraction, since March. Now, with the coronavirus staying broadly under control within China’s borders, life is returning to normal in there, which has helped the other major segment of the economy—services—to catch up.
“A lot of restaurants are already full with long lines at the door. People are consuming and factories are already at their full capacity,” said Zhu Chaoping, a Shanghai-based global market strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The reason, he says: “We see the pandemic is controlled.”