|March uptick in China manufacturing
China's manufacturing activity improved marginally in March from the previous month, the government said.
The official purchasing managers index (PMI) was 50.3 in March, the National Bureau of Statistics said, up from 50.2 in February, which was an eight-month low.
The index tracks manufacturing activity in factories and workshops. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
“The PMI index rose slightly in March and ended the trend of falling for three consecutive months.... It still indicates economic growth will stabilise in the future,'' the statement quoted Zhang Liqun, an economist at the state-backed Development Research Center, as saying.
The market had expected PMI to remain unchanged in March at 50.2, according to a poll of economists by Dow Jones Newswires.
A preliminary estimate by HSBC, which gives greater weight to smaller companies, put China's PMI at a weaker 48.1 in March.
Analysts largely expect the government to take steps to boost the economy.
“The rebound this time reflects the economy remained weak, but it's slightly better than market expectations,'' said Zhou Hao, a Shanghai-based economist with ANZ bank.
“I expect the government to be more active... arranging fiscal expenditure in advance for some lagging projects,'' he told AFP.