China factories storm ahead, even as Asia stalls

STORY: Chinese factories are roaring back into life as the country’s economy reopens.

Figures out Wednesday (March 1) zoomed past expectations.

The closely watched manufacturing purchasing managers’ index hit 52.6 in February.

That its highest in over a decade, with any number above 50 pointing to expanding activity.

A private sector survey also showed activity rising for the first time in seven months.

Economists hope the country’s rebound from lockdowns will now help underpin global growth too.

The International Monetary Fund last month raised its forecasts for the world economy, in part because of China’s exit from health-crisis restrictions.

So far, it’s a weaker picture in the rest of the Asia though.

Japan’s final PMI for February fell, dropping at the fastest pace in more than two years.

The weak outcome followed a slump in output of cars and chips, casting doubt on the Bank of Japan’s view that a steady recovery was under way.

Factory activity also shrank in Taiwan and Malaysia, while India saw manufacturing expand at its slowest pace in four months.

South Korea saw its exports fall for a fifth month, hit by a plunge in shipments of semiconductors.