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China official services PMI falls to 53.7 as new orders soften

BEIJING, Oct 3 (Reuters) - China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the services sector fell to 53.7 i n September from 56.3 in August, weighed by lackluster new orders, a survey from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.

The services sector index follows two PMI surveys of China's vast manufacturing industry that showed growth stabilizing at a slower pace, presaging the seventh straight quarter of slowing economic growth in the world's second-largest economy .

A reading below 50 indicates activity is contracting and one above 50 signals expansion compared with the previous month.

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing conducts the survey on behalf of China's National Bureau of Statistics.

China's fast-growing services industry has so far weathered the global slowdown much better than the factory sector, with the PMI consistently signalling healthy expansion and hitting a 10-month high of 58.0 in March.

CFLP/NBS services PMI index ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan Dec Nov Oct Sep

53.7 56.3 55.6 56.7 55.2 56.1 58.0 57.3 55.7 56.3 55.9 55.5 55.8 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Reporting By Lucy Hornby and Xu Wan)

((lucy.hornby@thomsonreuters.com)(+86 10 6627 1269)(Reuters Messaging: lucy.hornby.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: CHINA PMI/SERVICES OFFICIAL