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China Manufacturing Growth Unexpectedly Slows In April

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China's manufacturing grew for the second straight month in April, separate surveys revealed Tuesday, raising doubts on the strength of the recovery in the economy.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, for the manufacturing sector fell to 50.1 in April from 50.5 in March, the statistics bureau said. Economists had expected the measure to remain steady.

The headline seasonally adjusted Caixin factory PMI, dropped to 50.2 in April from 50.8 in March, survey data from IHS Markit showed. Economists had expected a score of 50.9.

Any PMI reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the sector.

The non-manufacturing PMI of the official survey fell to 54.3 from 54.8 and the composite measure decreased to 53.4 from 54.8.

Recent economic data from the world's second largest economy have been mixed.

Official data released over the weekend showed that China's industrial profits rose in March after declining in the previous four months.

The IHS Markit survey showed that new orders rose at a softer pace than in March. Subdued sales stemmed from weaker foreign demand as new export business fell for the second time in the past three months.

Backlogs of work increased at the slowest pace for three years. Headcount at factories fell slightly, thanks to cost cutting efforts and the non-replacement of voluntary leavers.

Inventories of finished items fell for the fourth month in April.

Average purchase cost rose slightly in April and the factory gate prices grew at a weaker pace, partly due to recent sales tax reforms.

Business confidence strengthened to its highest level in nearly a year in April.

"In general, China's economy showed good resilience in April,
yet it stabilized on a weak foundation and is not coming to an
upward turning point," CEBM Group Macroeconomic Analysis Director Zhengsheng Zhong said.

"... As pressure on the economy remains in the second quarter, we expect that there will be minor adjustments to the policy but not a turnaround."

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