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China factory activity eases, service sector gains in April

WT24 Desk

Hong Kong — China’s factory activity slipped by a fraction on slightly softer demand, a monthly survey released Monday showed, AP reports.

The official purchasing managers’ index came in at 51.4 for April, easing from 51.5 in the previous month but still above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction on the index’s 100-point scale.

The latest numbers come as trade tensions between China and the U.S. remain elevated, with potential implications for China’s sprawling export-oriented manufacturing sector.

The China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing’s survey found that factory output held steady but new orders and new export orders weakened for the month, indicating waning demand.

“Imports and exports continued to maintain growth, (but) the growth rate has slowed down,” said Zhao Qinghe, senior statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics, which released the data on its website.

Activity in the rest of China’s economy also held up fairly well, with further growth in the services sector, which is playing an increasingly important role as communist leaders in Beijing pivot the country away from its industrial roots. The group’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 54.8 from 54.6 in March.

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