China PMI: Factories returned to expansion in March

Chinese workers paint ceramic Smurfs in Dehua, Fujian Province, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Factories in China expanded their activity in March, beating expectations by market economists for a fall, according to official numbers.

The PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index), released by the National Bureau of Statistics, rose in March to 50.1, just into expansion territory, from 49.9 the month before.

The Australian dollar spiked on the data, hitting 0.766 against the US dollar before easing to 0.7645, or about 0.5% higher.

Higher activity in China factories is seen as a positive for Australian commodity exports, mainly iron ore.

China’s economy has been slowing with official GDP forecasts of 7% this year, the lowest for decades.

The unofficial HSBC flash PMI last week showed manufacturing at 49.2 in March, an 11 month low.

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