UPDATE 2-China manufacturing growth leaps past forecasts

* PMIs point to domestic strength despite slower exports

* Evidence that price pressures also on the rise

* Asia shares lifted by the surprisingly strong figures
(Combines HSBC and official PMIs)

By Langi Chiang and Simon Rabinovitch

BEIJING, Nov 1 (BestGrowthStock) – China’s factories ramped up
their production last month and were buoyed by an influx of new
business, highlighting the strength of the world’s
second-largest economy but also pointing to price pressures.

Two surveys of the manufacturing sector, which are designed
to provide an early indication of conditions in a broad range
of industries, both jumped to six-month highs in October.

The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 54.7
in the month from 53.8 in September, blowing past expectations.
The HSBC PMI, a private companion, climbed to 54.8 from 52.9.
[ID:nBJL002089]

The increase was all the more impressive since the official
survey has traditionally sagged in October, weighed down by the
week-long National Day holiday, when factory production slows.

“The fact that the PMI went up despite this seasonal bias
suggests real activity growth was likely to have been
exceedingly strong in October,” Goldman Sachs economists Yu
Song and Helen Qiao said in a note to clients.

Asian shares were lifted by the surprisingly strong PMIs,
with the main index in Shanghai rising 1.9 percent in the
morning session (.SSEC: ).
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Graphics:

— PMI and industrial output:
http://link.reuters.com/cuh23q

— China Sept trade/production: http://r.reuters.com/tuz49p

Global markets report [ID:nSGE6A0034]

More than decoupled, China in league of own [ID:nTOE69L087]

Asia’s history foretells Chinese slowdown [ID:nSGE69P05Z]
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Four straight months of stronger official PMIs jive with
other signs that China’s economy (Read more about the fastest growing economy.) has built up a head of steam.

This momentum gave the government the confidence to raise
interest rates on Oct. 19 for the first time in nearly three
years, and some economists believe another increase could be in
store before the end of the year.

DOMESTIC POWER

Both surveys showed that output expansion was driven by
domestic growth, not external demand.

While the sub-index for total new orders in the official
PMI climbed to a six-month high of 58.2 from 56.3, that for new
export orders dipped to 52.6 from 52.8. The HSBC survey
revealed a similar pattern.

“Another upbeat reading for the HSBC China Manufacturing
PMI suggests strong growth momentum in domestic demand to
warrant about 9 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter,
despite the still soft increase in new export orders,” said Qu
Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC.

The 54.7 reading for the official PMI, released by the
China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), was higher
than the median forecast of 52.9 in a Reuters poll of 12
economists and, in fact, higher than every individual forecast.

PRICE PRESSURES

But Zhang Liqun, a government researcher, cautioned against
over-optimism, saying that growth was likely to ease and that
inflationary pressures were a concern.

“The continued pick-up in the October PMI shows that the
trend of economic stabilisation is becoming clearer. However,
we need to note that economic expansion might slow in the
future as investment and export growth both slowed in the third
quarter,” he said in a comment on behalf of the logistics
federation, which compiles the index for the National Bureau of
Statistics.

“Input prices climbed fast, meaning rising cost pressure
for companies. We need to pay close attention to the economic
trend and must not be over-optimistic,” he added.

Input prices rose to a six-month high of 69.9 from 65.3 in
September.

China reports inflation data for October next week. Many
economists expect that consumer prices will have risen to a
nearly two-year high, though that could be at their cyclical
peak.

In the HSBC survey, both input and output prices increased
at their fastest pace in 27 months. Manufacturing executives
pointed to higher raw material costs — especially, coal,
cotton, grain and steel — and said that they had increased
output prices to protect their operating margines.

Chinese growth has been decelerating, at least in
year-on-year terms, throughout the year.

After growing 11.9 percent from a year earlier in the first
quarter, the pace slowed to 10.3 percent in the second quarter
and 9.6 percent in the third quarter.

The data marked the 20th straight month that the official
PMI stood above the threshold of 50 that demarcates expansion
from contraction.

The index hit a record low of 38.8 in November 2008 and was
last below 50 in February 2009.
(Editing by Ken Wills and Neil Fullick)

UPDATE 2-China manufacturing growth leaps past forecasts