Factory activity in China posts lowest rate in 7 months

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BEIJING: Chinese manufacturing activity contracted in February at its worst rate in seven months, British banking giant HSBC said on Monday, the latest data indicating trouble in the world’s number two economy.

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HSBC said its final purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China, which tracks manufacturing activity in factories and workshops, fell to 48.5 last month.

It was a slight increase on the flash PMI of 48.3 the bank released 11 days ago, but it remained the weakest reading since July when the figure stood at 47.7, according to the bank’s data.

The index is a closely watched gauge of the health of the Asian economic powerhouse. A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below signals contraction.

In January, the index showed contraction for the first time in six months to hit 49.5.

The HSBC release came after China’s National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday announced its official PMI reading fell to an eight-month low in February at 50.2.

AFP

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