GLOBAL ECONOMY-China factory sector perks up, elsewhere gloomy
* China official PMI stronger than expected; HSBC PMI weak
Shares, commodities rise after China official PMI
* PMIs show output, new orders falling in India, Korea, Taiwan
* New export orders also fall broadly in Asia
BEIJING, Aug 1 (Reuters) - China offered a rare bright spot in an otherwise sluggish Asian manufacturing sector in July with a stronger than expected government purchasing managers index that eased some concerns over the health of the world's second-biggest economy.
Although the China PMI surprised and gave a boost to regional share prices and commodities, it also signalled only a modest pace of growth. A rival report from HSBC was much more gloomy, showing factory activity fell to its lowest in nearly a year.
"I think the official report does offer a slim hope that the economy is stabilising at least, but it is still a bit early to conclude that things have turned around decisively," Wei Yao, China economist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong.
Elsewhere in Asia, other PMI reports suggested factory output and new orders falling in July in India, South Korea and Taiwan. In Indonesia, a PMI report signalled that output and new orders were holding at similar levels to June.
New export orders also fell broadly in Asia. However, overseas demand was still growing in India, although at a weaker pace than in June.
The Asian PMIs, which seek to measure a range of conditions in manufacturing including employment, stock levels and backlogs of work, were released ahead of similar reports on the euro zone and the United States, which are expected to show factory activity picking up at a more robust pace than in Asia.
The euro zone's PMI is expected to show the manufacturing sector grew for the first time in well over a year with the index rising to 50.1 from 48.8 in June. The data is due at 0758 GMT.
A PMI reading above 50 points to expansion from the month before, while a reading below suggests contraction in activity.
In the United States, the Institute for Supply Management is expected to report that its PMI rose to 52.0 in July from 50.9 in June, extending a rebound from a contraction in factory activity in May. The figures are due to be released at 1400 GMT.
China's official PMI rose to 50.3 in July, contrary to expectations that it would fall to 49.9 from 50.1 in June, suggesting a pick up in activity as growth in new orders quickened.
Beijing, which is targetting GDP expansion this year of 7.5 percent, a 23-year low, has become more concerned at the slowdown in the economy this year and has offered reassurances in a flurry of announcements in the past two weeks that the government will safeguard growth.
The China PMI boosted Asian shares and commodity prices as the report provided some short-term relief from a run of gloomy data in China all year. Economic growth has slipped in nine of the past 10 quarters.
"The positive official PMI shows corporate confidence improved after official comments in the last few weeks provided some assurance on growth," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales.
The HSBC PMI painted a different picture of China, suggesting factory activity shrank in July for the third straight month as new orders and new exports orders fell.
The HSBC report focuses more on smaller and private-sector companies, while the official PMI survey garners responses more from bigger and state-owned companies, pointing to a possible divide in China's economic health.
The HSBC PMI, compiled by Markit Economics Research, fell to 47.7 in July, the weakest reading since August 2012, from 48.2 in June. The latest reading matched a preliminary PMI released last week.
"We can see the small companies are more affected by the liquidity tension apparently," said Societe Generale's Yao.
In India, a slowdown in factory activity deepened in July as order books shrank by the most in over four years, suggesting a broad stagnation in the sector. The HSBC manufacturing PMI edged down to 50.1 in July from 50.3 in May.
The latest PMI also showed inflation pressures intensified in July with both the input and output costs rising at a faster pace, possibly a reflection of higher import prices as authorities struggle with a record low rupee.
The Markit/JMMA Japan PMI, released on Wednesday, showed manufacturing growth eased in July from June to the weakest pace in four months as the strength of new export orders and output cooled.
The factory sector has benefited from an economic rebound fuelled by aggressive monetary and fiscal policies, but weak global demand growth is having an impact.
Data on Tuesday showed Japan's industrial output fell at the fastest pace in more than two years in June as companies curbed production to avoid a buildup in inventories.