China’s official gauge of manufacturing activity picked up slightly in July, rising to 50.3 from June’s 50.1, Reuters reported. The purchasing managers’ index (PMI), published by the National Bureau of Statistics, was stronger than market expectations in a Reuters poll of 49.9. A sub-index measuring new orders edged up to 50.6 in July from 50.4 in June, indicating stronger demand for Chinese goods. A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity. The HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by Markit Economics Research, fell to 47.7 in July from June’s 48.2. It was the weakest reading since August 2012.