BEIJING - China's non-manufacturing sector picked up pace in January, an encouraging sign for the government's push for a services-driven economy.
The non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 55.3 this month, up from 55 in December and 54.6 in the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement Wednesday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
The index has been on a gaining streak for three months, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said.
The service sector, which accounted for more than half of the country's GDP, reported stronger expansion as its business activity index rose to 54.4 from 53.4 a month ago, well above the boom-bust line of 50.
Retail, aviation, telecom, information technology, banking and other commercial services were robust, while hotels, catering and property sectors were still in the contraction territory, Zhao said. "Market demand kept improving and the business outlook became better."
Meanwhile, the construction sector slowed mildly with its index down to 60.5 as falling temperatures and continued snowfall impeded building projects.
In face of lingering downward pressure, China is counting on rapidly-growing services to drive the economy and has rolled out a string of favorable measures. The service sector contributed 58.8 percent to economic growth last year.
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