BEIJING Growth in China's services sector expanded in December at a slower pace than in the previous month, an official survey showed on Sunday.
The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 54.5 in December, compared with the previous month's reading of 54.7, but well above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
China is counting on growth in services to offset persistent weakness in exports that is dragging on the world's second-largest economy.
The economy expanded at a steady 6.7 percent in the third quarter and looks set to hit Beijing's full-year growth target, fueled by stronger government spending, record bank lending and a red-hot property market.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Richard Pullin)