China says factory activity expands at slower pace in April

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Beijing (AFP) – China’s factory activity continued to expand in April, albeit at a slower-than-expected pace, official data showed on Sunday, adding to signs of stabilisation in the world’s second largest economy. 

The purchasing manager’s index (PMI), which gauges conditions at factories and mines, stood at 51.2 in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, down from a near five-year high of 51.8 in March. 

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a reading of 51.7 for April.

A figure above 50 indicates growth in the sector, which is a key driver of the Chinese economy, while anything below points to contraction.

“Although the PMI has dropped slightly, we can also see the steady accumulation of positive factors,” NBS analyst Zhao Qinghe said in a statement.

Zhao pointed to increased production of consumer goods and improvements in small business activity as good indicators for the economy.

An acceleration in China’s GDP growth in the first three months of 2017 as well as a rebound in retail spending and robust trade data have eased concerns about the strength of the Asian giant’s economy following last year’s slowdown.

    <figure><figcaption>China's factory activity continued to expand in April 2017, albeit at a slower-than-expected pace, according to official data
        <span>Copyright AFP/File Fred Dufour</span>
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