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China suspends release of key local economic data amidst trade tensions

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by Beroe Inc.
17 December 2018


China’s central government has asked the authorities of Guangdong province, the country’s export hub, to stop publishing a local purchasing managers index (PMI) data for the manufacturing sector, according to reports by South China Morning Post and Nikkei Asian Review.

The move comes as Beijing looks to tighten its grip on the dissemination of economic news amidst trade tensions with the United States. The end to Guangdong’s PMI came unannounced, media reports said. The region’s data relating to manufacturing activity is released separately from the PMI compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics.

October PMI was not released by the Guangdong government on November 1. Asked about the data, a spokesperson of the local government said it had been delayed due to a system update, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

On Dec. 3, the Guangdong government said on its website that it stopped releasing its PMI data in November after the statistics bureau announced in late October that it will start centrally conducting PMI surveys, according to the report by Nikkei Asian Review.(https://beroeinc.co/2QYor3o)

South China Morning post reported that “the Guangdong Industry and Information Technology Department issued a brief statement on December 10, buried deep in the website, saying that it had received a notice from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at the end of October and was told that all PMI compilations must be conducted by the NBS.“(https://beroeinc.co/2Ep6uUV)

Phone calls to the NBS information office went unanswered on Monday and the bureau has not replied to faxed questions from the South China Morning Post.

The Guangdong provincial PMI, complied by the Guangdong’s Industry and Information Technology Department, has been released on a monthly basis since November 2011.

In September, the Guangdong PMI for the manufacturing sector rose 0.9 percentage points to 50.2, just above the 50-point mark which divides expansion from contraction. In August, it had dropped below that line to 49.3, which had caught the attention of trade watchers, analysts and economists.

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