Chinese manufacturing expands in October but at slower pace

BEIJING (AP) — China’s manufacturing activity expanded in October for the eighth straight month, though at a slightly slower rate than in September, the National Bureau of Statistics
said yesterday.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index stood at 51.4, down from 51.5 the previous month, the agency announced. A reading above 50 in the monthly survey of companies indicates expansion.

The economy gradually recovered since the index plunged to 35.7 in February during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in China. The world’s second largest economy grew 4.9 per cent in the three months ending September 30, the second straight quarter of growth after a contraction of 6.8 per cent from January to March.

Manufacturing employment, after a brief bounce-back in March and April, fell for the sixth straight month with a reading of 49.3, a decline from 49.6 from September. China has struggled to get people back to work even as the pandemic largely receded at home.

The recovery helped large manufacturers more than smaller ones, which fell into negative territory in October, dropping 0.7 to 49.4.

National Bureau of Statistics Senior Statistician Zhao Qinghe said some companies reported that the resurgence of the epidemic overseas delayed imports of raw materials and increased the transport costs.

The bureau also reported that the Purchasing Managers’ Index for non-manufacturing activity rose to 56.2, up from 55.9 in September. The index includes service industries
and construction.

A woman works in a garment factory in Donghai county in east China’s Jiangsu province. PHOTO: AP