On Friday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the country’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index unexpectedly climbed to 50.8 in May from 50.6 in April.
Economists were expecting the number to fall to 50.0.
Moments ago, we learned that the unofficial PMI report, which is compiled privately by HSBC and Markit, fell to 49.2 from 50.4 a month ago.
It’s worth noting that the unofficial report has greater exposure to small and medium-sized enterprises, which may be having a tougher time than its larger competitors.
Still, the direction of the NBS number conflicts directionally with not just China, but South Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
We don’t claim to be experts at this. But surely, these numbers will raise some eyebrows as the aggregate data out of Asia looks more bad than good.
Here’s some China commentary from the May PMI reports:
South Korea PMI (51.1, down from 52.6 in April):
- “The US remained a source of export growth, but demand from China was reported to have suffered.”
China HSBC PMI (49.2, down from 50.4 in April):
- “The downward revision of the final HSBC China Manufacturing PMI suggests a marginal weakening of manufacturing activities towards the end of May, thanks to deteriorating domestic demand conditions.”
Taiwan PMI (47.1, down from 50.7 in April):
- “Respondents reported a general deterioration in global economic conditions, with lower new orders from China, Europe and the US mentioned specifically.”
Vietnam PMI (48.8, down from 51.0 in April):
- “Companies reported stronger demand from clients in China and the US.”
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