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China Leading Economic Index Rises at Faster Pace in January Than December

Saturday, 25 February 2012 | 00:00
A leading index for China rose at a faster pace as policy makers step up efforts to boost liquidity and sustain growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
The gauge gained 1.6 percent to 225.7 in January from the previous month, the Conference Board said in a statement today, citing a preliminary reading. The New York-based research organization last month said it made benchmark revisions to the index. The gauge rose 0.8 percent in December.
Premier Wen Jiabao is trying to sustain the pace of economic expansion while maintaining a campaign to cool the property market. The central bank on Feb. 18 announced the second cut in bank reserve requirements in three months after a decline in exports and the lowest January lending in five years.
Even with the pickup in the gauge, “the trend remains slower than the first half of 2011 and equal numbers of its components have been rising and falling over the past several months, indicating a broad-based slowing,” Andrew Polk, resident China economist at the Conference Board, said in the statement.
China’s gross domestic product expanded 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 from a year earlier, the slowest pace since the second period in 2009.
The leading index’s components include loans, a gauge of raw-materials supplies, export orders, consumer expectations and floor space started, using data released by the central bank and the statistics bureau. The Conference Board says the index, first published in May 2010, signals turning points in China’s economic cycles if plotted back to 1986.
The group in January began releasing the index for the previous month instead of with the prior two-month lag.
Source: Bloomberg
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