Mainland manufacturing unit sector exercise cools in April

China's manufacturing activity contracted in April, official figures showed on Sunday, due to slack global demand and a slow domestic recovery.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) — a key gauge of Chinese factory output — fell to 49.2 in April from 51.9 in March, and below the 50-point mark that separates expansion and contraction in activity, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg News had expected April factory activity to come at 51.4.

The drop comes after February recorded the highest reading in more than a decade.

China's economy grew 4.5 percent in the first three months of the year, but the world's second-largest economy still faces a range of challenges, from a debt-laden property sector to flagging consumer confidence, global inflation and the threat of recession elsewhere.

The official non-manufacturing PMI, which measures growth in the services and construction sectors, fell to 56.4 from 58.2 in March.

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The March reading was the highest since May 2011, as the country saw a surge in demand for travel, entertainment and other leisure services that were curbed for nearly three years during the pandemic.

The government has set a growth target of around five percent this year. (AFP)

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