New data points to a modest easing of demand in the Chinese economy.
The latest Purchasing Managers Index of factory activity released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics at the end of April fell by 0.6 percentage points month-on-month to hit 51.2.
The new figure marks a six-month low for the key index, after it hit a multi-year high of 51.8 in the preceding month.
Zhao Qinghe, a senior economist with NBS, said that a number of key factors lay behind the slight PMI growth, chief amongst them being easing growth in demand.
Slowing demand growth chipped away at the productivity and new orders indices, which edged lower by 0.4 and 1.0 percentage points respectively to reach 53.8 and 52.3.
Economists nonetheless hope that growth remains strong enough to give policymakers sufficient breathing space for much needed reforms, and help China further transition from debt-fuelled investment-driven growth to a consumer driven economy.