A worker processes high-end yarn at a new materials workshop in Zaozhuang, east China’s Shandong Province, on February 27, 2023.

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China’s factory activity for February bounced further into expansion territory, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.6 in February – above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction. That is the highest reading since April 2012, when it reached 53.5.

February’s PMI reading is also higher than the 50.1 reported for January and above expectations of 50.5, according to economists polled by Reuters.

The non-manufacturing PMI also grew further to 56.3 from January’s print of 54.4, as it saw a sharp improvement supported by a recovery in services and construction activity.

The Chinese onshore yuan stood at 6.9325 against the US dollar while the offshore yuan strengthened 0.15% to 6.9480 against the dollar.

China Beige Books Chief Economist Derek Scissors told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” that he expects to see an improvement in consumption later this year — supported by possible announcements from the upcoming meetings of the National People’s Congress.

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“I think April is really the time when consumers will take cues from the March National People’s Congress and the announcements that were made there,” Scissors said.

He added, “In April we should see where Chinese consumption goes. It will be better than last year, but it won’t be much better and the people who rely on it may be disappointed.”

China’s National People’s Congress kicks off on Sunday.

Consumption in China may not be