Activity in China’s manufacturing sector grew at the fastest pace since 2012 in September, as factories cranked up output to take advantage of strong demand and high prices.
The official PMI released on Saturday rose to 52.4 in September, from 51.7 in August and well above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
It marked the 14th straight month of expansion for China’s massive manufacturing industry and the highest reading since April 2012, according to Reuters.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the reading would ease slightly.
The data comes ahead of the Communist Party Congress in mid-October, a once-every-five-years meeting where new leaders are appointed and the government’s key political and economic initiatives are laid out, though details are usually not announced until much later.
China’s economy grew by a faster-than-expected 6.9 per cent in the first half of 2017, and looks set to easily meet the government’s full-year target of around 6.5 per cent.
China’s manufacturers are reporting their best profits in years, fuelled by government-led infrastructure spending, a strong housing market, higher factory-gate prices and a recovery in exports.
But cost pressures from high raw materials prices and continued underperformance of smaller firms mean some manufacturers are still struggling.