China’s manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in four months in February, a private survey showed on Wednesday, surprising investors who were expecting a contraction.
The flash HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 50.1 from January’s 49.7 final reading, above the 50-mark which demarcates expansion from contraction and better than a Reuters poll expecting a 49.5 print. Factory activity contracted in both January and December, after stalling in November.
Reaction in markets was positive: the Australian dollar rose against both the U.S. dollar and the yen, while China’s Shanghai Composite index pared losses to bounce into positive territory and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index held near the flatline.
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