China’s factory activity expands in August but export orders worsen
BEIJING: China's factory activity unexpectedly expanded in August as production edged up, a private business survey showed yesterday, but orders remained weak and business confidence faltered as the Sino-US trade war continued to escalate.
Export orders fell for the third month in a row and at the sharpest pace since November last year, amid slowing global demand. Both Washington and Beijing began imposing new tariffs on each other's goods on Sunday.
The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for last month rose to a five-month high of 50.4 from 49.9 in July, after two months of contraction.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a further dip to 49.8.
The 50-point level separates contraction from growth on a monthly basis.
China's official factory data on Saturday showed manufacturing activity contracted for the fourth month in a row and by slightly more than expected.
Forward-looking indicators in both surveys pointed to further weakness in the vast manufacturing sector, reinforcing expectations that Beijing will need to roll out more support measures soon.
"China's economy showed signs of a short-term recovery, but downward pressure remains a long-term problem," said director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group Zhengsheng Zhong. - REUTERS