China factory gauge suspended again, this time 'indefinitely'

Employees work at a production line inside a factory in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on June 19, 2016.
Employees work at a production line inside a factory in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on June 19, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Publishers of the China Minxin Manufacturing PMI Index suspended the gauge for a second time, scrapping an early monthly reading on the world's second-largest economy.

Release of the unofficial purchasing managers index jointly compiled by China Minsheng Banking Corp. and the China Academy of New Supply-side Economics will be suspended "indefinitely", the academy said Thursday in a statement on its website, without giving a reason. The indicators, which track manufacturing and services, were more volatile than the official PMI from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The cancellation is another setback for investors and economists looking for ways to take the pulse of business activity beyond official data from the government. One other early estimate of manufacturing, a flash PMI compiled by Markit Economics and sponsored by Caixin Media, was discontinued Oct. 1.

The Minxin indexes were previously released on the 21st day of each month, ahead of China's official PMI, which the NBS releases on the first day of the month. When the gauges were suspended in December, the publishers said they would make a "major adjustment" to their calculations. The gauges resumed in January. The statement Thursday didn't make reference to resuming publication or changing the methodology.

"We are facing some pressure," Jia Kang, director of the Beijing-based academy, said by phone Thursday, declining to offer more elaboration. "It's difficult to say." Peng Peng, an analyst at the academy, said by phone Thursday that he didn't know the reason for the suspension.