China manufacturing growth slows in February: HSBC

The bank's preliminary PMI stood at 50.4 for the month, down from a final 52.3 in January, it said in a statement.

SHANGHAI: China's manufacturing growth hit a four-month low in February but remained positive, British banking giant HSBC said Monday, noting that the world's second-biggest economy was still recovering slowly. 

The bank's preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) stood at 50.4 for the month; down from a final 52.3 in January, it said in a statement. 

A reading above 50 indicates expansion and it was the fourth consecutive month of growth after 12 months of contraction. 

"The Chinese economy is still on track for a gradual recovery," Qu Hongbin, a Hong Kong-based economist with HSBC said in the statement, downplaying 
the fall in the PMI index. 

"The underlying strength of Chinese growth recovery remains intact, as indicated by the still expanding employment and the recent pick-up of credit growth," he added. 

Chinese banks more than doubled their lending in January from December, granting 1.07 trillion yuan ($171.7 billion) worth of new loans, official data showed earlier this month, as Beijing seeks to boost economic growth. 

The domestic economy expanded 7.8 percent last year, its slowest pace in 13 years, in the face of weakness at home and in key overseas markets. 

Policymakers cut 
interest rates twice in 2012 and have trimmed the amount of cash banks must place in reserve three times since December 2011 to encourage lending and pump up growth. 

The PMI index, compiled by information services provider Markit and released by HSBC, tracks manufacturing activity and is a closely watched barometer of the health of the economy.

ke�pt:�֙xÔ•oat:none;word-spacing:0px'>center, designed to handle 140 patients a day, has three or four specially-trained emergency care doctors. "Our services are priced at one-fifth of that charged by corporate hospitals. 

The first two hours are not billed and the patient may have to a pay a maximum of Rs 5,000 for 24 hours, inclusive of food and other services," says Ahmed, who plans 110 such round-the clock centers over the next three-four years with an investment of Rs 129 crore. 

When Jaisingh of International Oncology decided to relocate to India to start his cancer care venture four years ago, he realised that it was cheaper to build his center in the US than in India. So he experimented with a hospital-within-a hospital concept and tied up with 
Fortis HealthcareBSE 3.23 % in Delhi and Dr. LH Hiranandani Hospital in Mumbai to leverage their physical infrastructure such as operation theatres, ICUs and equipments to It has now setup seven satellite centers in smaller cities such as Moradabad, Aligarh, Imphal, Thane and Meerut to provide a range of cancer-related services, from prevention and diagnostic to treatment and rehabilitation.

Chennupati, who worked with the 
World Bank after passing out from the University of Michigan, returned to India four years ago. After a stint with the Hyderabad-based Health Management Research Institute, which uses information and communication technology to deliver healthcare services in remote rural locations, he partnered with his colleague Anumanchi to start his first single doctor village clinic six months ago near Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. He is scouting for locations where his clinics can cater to 70,000-80,000 people in 20-30 villages. Asvas will stick to three such clinics in 2013 and fine tune the model before scaling it up in clusters, after which one manager will be able to supervise three-four clinics.

These clinics engage with the local community, specially the sarpanch, advertise on local cable 
networks, create awareness camps in neighbouring villages and tap the pool of local Asha(Accredited Social Health Activists) workers to mobilise patients." One of the biggest challenges we have come across is breaking the monopoly of the RMPs or rural medical practitioners, who are typically quacks or have a diploma in paramedics' stream," says Chennupati. The clinics charge Rs 100 per consultation and Rs 70 for a basic blood test, half the price the villagers are forced to pay in the adjacent city of Kakinada. "Many patients who show up are referral cases, whom we counsel on the options they have both in government and private sector and if the case is serious we call the ambulance," he adds.