|China factory output weakens in December
Manufacturing in China grew at its slowest pace in three months in December, a private survey confirmed.
HSBC’s purchasing managers' index, which tracks manufacturing in factories and workshops, came in at 50.5 last month, unchanged from a preliminary reading two weeks ago, AFP reports.
A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below signals contraction.
The December figure was down from 50.8 in November and marked the weakest growth since September when the reading was 50.2.
Today's data came a day after the National Bureau of Statistics announced that its official PMI slowed to 51 last month from November's 51.4. That marked the 15th consecutive month of growth, but the first time since June that the figure had dipped from the previous month.
HSBC said new orders, a component of its PMI, gained at a fractionally slower pace from November, with business from abroad posting a marginal decline for the first time in four months.
Qu Hongbin, an HSBC economist in Hong Kong, said in a statement the easing in last month's PMI was mainly due to modest output growth, which weakened from November's eight-month high.
But the fact that the index has sustained a fifth straight expansionary reading suggested the Chinese economy has been holding up well, he said.
“The recovering momentum since August 2013 is continuing into 2014,'' Qu said.