China services sector growth steadies in July

Construction workers in China
Image caption The services sector, including construction, is responsible for providing many jobs in China

China's services sector expanded slightly in July, an HSBC survey showed, indicating that growth in the sector had steadied.

The HSBC non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.3, unchanged from June. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion.

The services sector accounts for nearly 43% of China's overall economy.

The data come amid concerns that China's economic growth rate may slow further in the coming months.

The world's second-largest economy has seen its pace of growth slow for two quarters in a row.

"China's service sector has stabilised at a relatively low level of growth," said Qu Hongbin, an economist at HSBC.

HSBC said that new business orders recovered from a 20-month low, but warned that profit margins in the sector continue to be squeezed.

"Without a sustained improvement in demand, services growth is likely to remain lacklustre, putting downside pressures to employment growth."

A similar official survey released over the weekend showed growth in China's non-manufacturing sector quickened in July.

The government's non-manufacturing PMI rose to 54.1 last month from 53.9 in June, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

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