China’s services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 52.3 in March, up from 52 in February, a HSBC report said on Friday.
Numbers above 50 signal expansion.
The data signaled a further expansion of business activity across China’s service sector in March as the growth rate quickened to a three-month high, the HSBC said.
However, growth remained modest overall, the HSBC said, noting the pace of job creation eased to a marginal rate that was the weakest since May.
The services industry, which has so far weathered the global slowdown much better than the factory sector, is an increasingly important pillar in China’s economy, especially as the government seeks to expand domestic consumption to drive growth.
On Wednesday, the HSBC announced that China’s manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 in March, down from 50.7 in February.
Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC, expected further policy easing as downward risks and deflation pressure remain due to subdued domestic need.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced on Wednesday that Chinese manufacturing bounced back to expansion territory with a reading of 50.1 in March after two months of bad news.
Official PMI covers large enterprises as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while the HSBC poll is more focused on SMEs.