Manufacturing activity in China continued to contract in March, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from the CLSA China Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) issued Wednesday. The recent upward trend in the index ended in March, with PMI falling to 44.8 from 45.1 in February, quashing hopes that the decline in manufacturing had bottomed out. A score under 50 indicates contraction in the sector. The new-order portion of the index dropped to 43.6 in March from 44.2 in February. Downward pressure on prices from idle capacity intensified; the output prices index dropped to 41.3 in March from 45.6 in February. However, there were a few positive indicators in the report. The new export-order index rose to 41.4 in March from 39.5 in February, the most moderate contraction since October. The employment index also rose to 47.1 in March from 46.6 in February, though it marked the eighth straight month of reductions in Chinese manufacturers’ employee headcount.
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