These three Great Graphics come from Also Spracht Analyst blog. They provide three different and useful perspectives of the Chinese manufacturing Purchasing Manager Index reported on September 1. The first chart to the right tracks the the sub-components over the past several years.
Input prices which have been particularly volatile have fallen considerably. Weakness continues to be seen in nearly every category, including ostensibly leading indicators like new orders and export orders. The take away here is that while a soft landing to the world's second largest economy may still be the most likely scenario, there is little sign yet that it has yet to "land".
The below on the left shows the monthly performance of the manufacturing index since 2005. From this measure it appears that the Chinese economy is in its most vulnerable condition since 2008. The pace
of the current weakness is not particularly sharp, but further deterioration would be worrisome.
Lastly, on the bottom right, offers a comparison between the official measure and the HSBC/Markit measure. While there is compelling reason to be suspicious of some official government reports, in this particular case, with the manufacturing PMI, the official estimate tracks fairly closely the private sector variant. To the extent there are discrepancies, they are not always in the self-servicing interest of the government.