May 6, 2021, 10:50 p.m. EDT

China private services-sector gauge rises in April

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By MarketWatch

A private gauge of China's services sector rose to its highest level since December, thanks to stronger consumer demand after Beijing's success in containing the coronavirus.

The Caixin China services purchasing managers index was at 56.3 in April, up from 54.3 in March, Caixin Media Co. and research firm IHS Markit said Friday.

Total new orders rose at their fastest pace since November, supported in part by a renewed upturn in export orders after a two-month decline.

The resilient demand prompted service providers to add to their staffing levels for the second straight month.

"Looking ahead, services companies in China were strongly optimistic that business activity would be higher than current levels in 12 months' time," Caixin said in a statement.

Service providers also reflected higher input costs in April, with prices rising at a sharper rate than in March. Prices charged by services companies therefore increased last month, though to a lesser extent than that for input costs.

China's official nonmanufacturing purchasing manager index, a competing gauge that also includes the nation's construction activity, slipped to 54.9 from 56.3 in March, according to the National Bureau of Statistics last week. The official PMI tracks more large companies, while the Caixin one monitors small, private ones more closely.

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