The HSBC PMI reached a seven month high this past February, as manufacturing activity continued to grow in China. However, export orders and deflation still lag behind, two persisting issues which recently spurred the central bank to cut interest rates.
As China transitions to a more consumption driven economy, we might expect some divergence between export numbers and manufacturing output. However, the current situation seems more problematic than such a switch. Furthermore, we might see monetary policy grow less effective at boosting exports for Asian countries as many in the region race against each other to devalue their currency. While this might help trade with nations located further away, it does very little good for these nations’ trade flows within the region.