China shows continued contraction in manufacturing

      Manufacturing activity in China rose slightly in September, but remained in contractionary territory for the 11th consecutive month, indicating that the world’s second-largest economy is still slowing. The HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a final reading of 47.9, compared with a preliminary reading of 47.8 announced last week, and a final reading of 47.6 for August, HSBC Holdings PLC said.

A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in manufacturing activity from the previous month, while a reading above 50 indicates expansion. New export orders fell at the fastest rate since March of 2009, HSBC said, when the global economy was still reeling from the financial crisis. According to the Wall Street Journal, the export orders reading indicate that economic weakness in major export markets such as the U.S. and Europe is continuing to have an impact on China . "A number of firms reported that demand had weakened amongst key trading partners due to a tough economic environment," HSBC said. "Chinese manufacturing growth is likely to be bottoming out. However, the sharper contraction of new export orders and the lingering pressures on job markets mean that Beijing should step up easing to support growth and employment," HSBC's chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin, said in a statement.

According to the report, China has taken a series of measures over the past several months to support growth, but many economists said the government's reaction to the slowdown has been less intense than expected, possibly due to fear of a rebound in inflation or property prices. In the most recent move, the General Administration of Customs announced a series of measures to stimulate trade growth, including scrapping some customs charges and simplifying procedures for trade companies, the report added.

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