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China PMI Ascends as Global Barometer With Market Sway

When Peter Elston wants to check the pulse of the world economy, one of the indicators he zeroes in on didn’t even exist a decade ago.

The head of Asia-Pacific strategy at Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Ltd. in Singapore isn’t alone in tracking the Chinese Purchasing Managers’ Index, which is released each month by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. When January’s preliminary estimate of 49.6 undershot economists’ expectations on Jan. 23, it stoked concern about the outlook for emerging markets and hurt assets from Australia’s dollar to U.S. stocks.