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China's sharp manufacturing recovery means little if world in recession

With US, Europe and Japan all struggling, there is no one to buy Chinese goods

| China
Workers assemble air conditioners at a factory in Jiujiang on Mar. 16: if China really is back, who is buying?   © FeatureChina/AP

Those who are bullish on China's prospects are having a great week: its all-important manufacturing sector has returned to expansion. Enjoy it, because this momentary high is already ceding ground to global realities.

The jump in the Purchasing Managers' Index, which reflects confidence in market conditions, to 52 from the record low of 35.7 in February is as good as news gets these days. Readings above 50 signal expansion. But a temporary rebound from a low base is not proof of a sharp V-shaped recovery from the coronavirus shock to Asia's biggest economy.

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