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Wednesday, 28 October 2015 21:00

3Q cooldown could mark the low point for 2015

Activity in China's manufacturing sector likely picked up slightly in October but remained subdued, a Reuters poll showed, fuelling hopes that the world's second-largest economy may be bottoming out after a burst of stimulus measures, Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to Reuters.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index(PMI) likely edged up to 50.0 in October from 49.8 in September, according to a median forecast of 20 economists in a Reuters poll. Still, the expected improvement remained marginal, with the reading at the 50-point mark that separates contraction from expansion on a monthly basis.

Factory activity shrank in September for a second straight month, albeit at a slower pace than in August.

“Stimulus measures continued to gain traction in October, which would be conducive for large and state factories,” said Zhang Yiping, an analyst at Merchants Securities in Shenzhen.

To shore up growth, the government has cut interest rates six times since November and lowered the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves four times this year. The latest cut in interest rates and banks' reserve requirement came last Friday.

Beijing has rolled out a flurry of steps since last year, including quickening spending on infrastructure and easing curbs on the ailing property sector. The latter have helped revive weak home sales and prices but have not yet reversed a sharp decline in property investment.

Data released last week showed China's economy grew 6.9 percent between July and September from a year earlier, dipping below 7 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Some analysts hope the third-quarter cooldown could mark the low point for 2015 as a burst of stimulus measures rolled out by Beijing gradually take effect in coming months, but muted monthly data for September kept such optimism in check.

The official PMI survey focuses more on larger, state-owned firms while another private one on the small and mid-sized companies, which are facing tougher financial and operating conditions.

The official PMI factory numbers will be released on Sunday, Nov.1, alongside the official services PMI. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI will be released on Nov.2.

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