Chinese economic activity showed evidence of softness this month, cooling from a more than five-year high reported ahead of the Communist Party congress, The Wall Street Journal reports. The official manufacturing purchasing managers index, a gauge of China’s factory activity, fell to 51.6 in October from 52.4 in September, data showed Tuesday. The reading was slightly below the median forecast of 51.8 by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. Tuesday’s data, an early peek at the economy’s performance in October, came as interest rates in the bond market rose across the board this week, adding pressure on companies already struggling to service their debt. Chinese stocks remained lower after a significant decline Monday, with shares hit by liquidity concerns. Ahead of the party congress concluded last week, economic activity had ramped up, boosted by external demand as well as stimulus measures. Higher commodity prices also supported business sentiment; in October, that optimism faded somewhat.