China Caixin services PMI jumps in June to 52.7, up from 51.2 in May

A fresh reading on China's services sector for June showed the mainland's rebalancing away from the manufacturing sector was continuing apace.

The China Caixin services purchasing managers' index (PMI) climbed to 52.7 from 51.2 in May, marking the fastest increase in 11 months. Levels above 50 indicate expansion, while levels below signal contraction. Reuters reported the June number was an 11-month high.

Those figures echoed the official services PMI data released last week, which showed the services PMI rose to 53.7 in June, better than May's 53.1 figure. The official data generally tracks larger and state-owned enterprises, while the the Caixin survey focuses on smaller, private companies.

While the manufacturing PMI data tends to be more closely watched, China's pivot toward domestic consumption and away from manufacturing- and investment-led growth means the service sector, which includes consumer industries such as real estate, retail and leisure, has become the majority of the mainland economy. It is also a key barometer of consumption, accounting for more than 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Last week, both official and Caixin manufacturing PMI data showed that part of the economy continued to struggle.

The official manufacturing PMI came in at 50.0 for June, versus 50.1 logged in May and April, while the Caixin's June manufacturing PMI was 48.6 for June, compared with 49.2 in May.

"Service sector growth is now supporting the overall economy," Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, said in the statement accompanying the data. "The expansion for services is coming at a time when the manufacturing index is contracting, suggesting the nation's economic structure is becoming more balanced."

The continued expansion of the services sector comes after China's policymakers bolstered growth over the past year through a flurry of interest rate cuts and reserve requirement ratio (RRR) reductions for banks, as well as other stimulus efforts.

Analysts widely anticipate gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the April-June quarter, due on July 15, to come in unchanged. GDP expanded 6.7 percent on-year in the first three months of the year, the slowest pace since the global financial crisis but still in line with Beijing's official 2016 target range of between 6.5-7 percent.

A shopper hands Chinese money to a vendor at an outdoor market in Beijing, China.
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A shopper hands Chinese money to a vendor at an outdoor market in Beijing, China.

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—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1