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China's Feb. non-manufacturing PMI up, consumption robust

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BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China's non-manufacturing activity picked up in February due to robust consumption during the Spring Festival holiday, an official monthly survey showed on Sunday.

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the non-manufacturing sector recovered to 53.9 in February from 53.7 in January, according to a report released jointly by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).

The subindex of new orders climbed to 51.2, up from 50.2 a month ago.

China's non-manufacturing PMI mainly tracks the business activities of the service and construction sectors. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 represents contraction.

The service sector subindex increased to 53.2 in February from 52.9 a month earlier.

Zhao Qinghe, an NBS senior statistician, said the figure had been stable over the recent three months, indicating steady expansion.

"Surging holiday consumption was one of the major driving factors as domestic spending in retail, catering, telecom and transportation grew rapidly in the period," he added.

Chinese retail and catering enterprises nationwide raked in around 678 billion yuan (110.3 billion U.S. dollars) during the week-long holiday, up 11 percent year on year, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

Domestic consumption was increasingly diversified, CFLP analyst Wu Wei said.

Activities in the construction industry continued to wane due to the holiday and cold weather, with the subindex retreating to 56.5 from 56.9 in January.

However, Zhao expects the industry, especially infrastructure projects, will pick up after the holiday as temperatures rise.

China's infrastructure construction, one of the major growth tools, will accelerate during the first half of the year as it is a government priority, Wu said.

The PMI samples 1,200 non-manufacturing enterprises of various sizes nationwide. It tracks activity in sectors including services, construction, software, aviation, railway transportation and real estate.

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