Business

China's factory activity shrinks for third straight month

BEIJING China's factory activity shrank for the third month in a row last month, an official survey showed yesterday, underlining the growing strain on the world's second-biggest economy as the US-China trade war hits business profits, confidence and investment.

The weak manufacturing reading could fuel worries of a global recession and explains why policymakers around the world have stepped up easing measures.

The Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 49.7 last month, China's National Bureau of Statistics said, higher from the previous month of 49.4 but below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. Analysts polled by Reuters predicted a reading of 49.6.

Deteriorating global demand left exporters struggling, with the survey showing export orders shrinking for the 14th month, though the sub- index ticked up fractionally to 46.9 from June's 46.3. The contraction in total new orders also moderated slightly.

China's factory output offered one brighter note, with growth quickening this month as the subindex rose to 52.1 from 51.3 in June.

The survey also showed persistent decline in orders from domestic customers, and even though demand conditions improved slightly, it still remained worryingly weak despite a raft of recent stimulus measures. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE