China's manufacturing activity unexpectedly shrank in April, recent official data showed, raising pressure on policymakers seeking to boost an economy struggling for a post-COVID lift-off amid subdued global demand and persistent property weakness, Ellen Zhang, Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) declined to 49.2 from 51.9 in March.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) declined to 49.2 from 51.9 in March, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, below the 50-point mark that separates expansion and contraction in activity on a monthly basis.
That missed expectations of 51.4 tipped by economists in a Reuters poll and marked the first contraction since December when the official manufacturing PMI was at 47.0.
The world's second-biggest economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter thanks to robust services consumption, but factory output has lagged amid weak global growth.
Slowing prices and surging bank savings are raising doubts about demand.
The Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party stressed that restoring and expanding demand is the key to a durable recovery and cautioned the current improvement is mainly restorative "with weak momentum and insufficient demand."