In a rare bright spot for Chinese manufacturing, HSBC released its Flash China Manufacturing PMI on Thursday, showing slight expansion for the world's second-largest economy. The Flash PMI, which HSBC publishes monthly a week before official Purchasing Managers' Index numbers are released, showed China's PMI rising to a score of 50.4 in November, up from 49.5 in October and reaching a 13-month high.
In PMI compilations, a measure of 50 represents even manufacturing output. Numbers below that represent contracting manufacturing, while numbers above 50 indicate an expansion of the sector.
This is the first time in more than a year that China's manufacturing sector has reported expansion. The nation approved large-scale stimulus packages of more than $100 billion in September to curb its ongoing slowdown -- a stimulus that seems justified after HSBC's report. Hopes have swirled this week about renewed Chinese stimulus efforts in the wake of the nation's leadership transition.
Manufacturing out and new export orders also rose into expansion territory, turning around months of contraction. The data backs up analyst projections of a slow but gaining recovery for China's economy, buoyed by the nation's recent pro-growth policies.
Asian markets picked up gains on the news, with Japan's Nikkei jumping more than 1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index recording gains of just under 1% in Thursday trading.