China Leading Economic Index Rises 0.7%, Conference Board Says

A leading index for China’s economy rose in July after a little-changed June reading, signaling that the nation’s economy may be stabilizing.

The gauge increased 0.7 percent from June to 236.4, the Conference Board, a New York-based research group, said in a statement today, citing a preliminary reading. Government loans to help finance infrastructure investment were behind the gain, the Conference Board said.

The report indicates China’s six-quarter economic slowdown may be abating even after export growth slid in July and industrial output and new loans missed estimates. Premier Wen Jiabao said last week that easing inflation allows more room to adjust monetary policy and positive signs are emerging in the economy.

“Although other leading indicators, such as real estate, exports and consumer sentiment, remained weak through July, the leading and current indicators point to a modest rebound in the second half of 2012,” Andrew Polk, an economist for the Conference Board in Beijing, said in the statement.

Separately today, HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics will give a preliminary August reading for a purchasing managers’ index of manufacturers in China.

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, first published in May 2010, has successfully captured turning points in China’s economic cycles if plotted back to 1986, according to the group.

The index’s components, which include loans, a gauge of raw-material supplies, export orders, consumer expectations and floor space started, use data from the central bank and the National Bureau of Statistics.

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