A private gauge of China’s factory activity fell to a neutral level that separates activity expansion from contraction in March.
The China Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 50.0 in March from 51.6 in February, according to data released Monday by Caixin Media Co. and S&P Global. That is down from the eight-month high reached in February and signals a moderation of activity in the sector.
The subindexes for output and total new orders remained in expansionary territory in March, but both dropped by more than two points from February, said Caixin. External demand also weakened amid a global economic downturn, with the subindex tracking new export orders falling back to contractionary territory.
The 50 mark separates activity expansion from contraction.
Employment in China’s manufacturing sector deteriorated in March, as the subindex measuring factory hiring fell below the 50 mark after rising above that level in February for the first time since March 2022, said Caixin.
“In a nutshell, the economy saw a marginal slowdown of recovery in March as the expansion in both manufacturing supply and demand significantly weakened from the previous month,” said Wang Zhe, an economist at Caixin Insight Group.
Meanwhile, China’s official manufacturing PMI, a competing gauge that focuses more on big manufacturers, also fell to 51.9 in March from February’s 52.6, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.
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