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Chinese manufacturing sacrifices growth for environmental gains

For years, China has been criticized for sacrificing the health of the environment for economic gain. But now, policies limiting pollution due seem to be slowing China’s manufacturing sector, according to the new Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) released on Sunday.

China is known for its booming economy and exports, but the PMI shows a decrease from 51.8 in November to 51.6 in December.

Experts have predicted that the economic growth in China would slow, but the overall future outlook for expansion and growth look promising.

“Overall, 2017’s economic performance continues to be steady and good, establishing a generally good foundation for 2018,” the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing told Reuters. “Recent PMI surveys show companies are confident for economic development in the new year, with production and operating activity expectation indices showing significant improvement.”

The reason for the economic slowdown can be linked to government policies meant to limit smog and pollution, as well as curbs on the housing market.  

Steelmakers in 28 cities are cutting down on their output, and some manufacturing activity has been stalled or hindered thanks to a campaign to convert coal to natural gas in order to limit environmental pollution and smog.

Air quality in Beijing, China has been a concern for some time.

In the winter months, the haze is particularly toxic, and covers Beijing and other parts of China in thick rolling clouds that can cause respiratory problems and cardiovascular disease.

Burning coal has also been linked to thousands of premature deaths in China. According to a report published on, and the pollution problem is so large that smog is related to almost one-third of all deaths in the country.

The efforts to combat smog could cost China billions, but so far, economists and analysts say China’s economy is strong enough to handle the hit to the manufacturing sector.

However, there are arguments that if the health of the economy is at stake, Chinese policies limiting pollution may ease up or even reverse.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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