Speaking of East Asian bubbles…

China’s manufacturing is contracting in May for the first time in seven months, adding to signs that economic growth is losing steam for a second quarter.

The preliminary reading of 49.6 for a Purchasing Managers’ Index (EC11FLAS) released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics compares with a final 50.4 for April and the 50.4 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. A separate Markit index (SHCOMP) for euro-area services and factory output increased more than forecast.

China needs to generate about 25 million jobs a year just to stay even, and to keep the Party popular enough to maintain a peaceful rule.