Chinese factories had a slow start to 2019, according to a key monthly index, signalling that the economy lost more momentum and will likely slow further in coming months.
The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index ticked up to 49.5 from 49.4 in January, marginally exceeding market expectations of 49.3, but is still hovering above a three-year low and reflects sustained weakness in China’s industrial sector. Any reading below 50 indicates a contraction.
The data, published by the National Bureau of Statistics, showed that the improvement was due largely to higher output and raw materials. Other sub-indices, such as new orders, continued to decline as demand slumps.
The non-manufacturing PMI was a bright spot, climbing to 54.7 from 53.8, with services performing well in January despite a dip in the construction index.