Growth in China's manufacturing sector slowed in November, according to a private gauge, which offered a conflicting signal of factory activity in the world's second-largest economy after official data showed unexpected strength.
The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 50.8 in November, its lowest level in five months, from 51.0 in October, Caixin Media Co. and research firm Markit said Friday. The 50 level separates an expansion in manufacturing activity from contraction.
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The output subindex inched up, rising for the first time in four months, though the new orders subindex declined, Caixin said.
"For the most part, the manufacturing sector remained stable in November, although some signs of weakness emerged," Zhengsheng Zhong, an economist at CEBM Group, said in a statement accompanying Friday's release.
Caixin also said purchasing costs continued to rise sharply and confidence towards the business outlook dropped.
"In the fourth quarter, the economy is likely to maintain the stability observed since the start of the second half of the year. Economic growth in 2017 is expected to be higher than last year, but it may come under downward pressure in 2018," the economist said.
Ahead of the release, economists said a softer reading in November would likely stem from efforts by the government to impose environmental curbs on output, reduce excess production capacity and rein in frothy market activity. The economy is expected to face increasing headwinds as Beijing tries to slow credit growth, reduce fiscal support and cool the property market.
A competing official measure of the manufacturing sector unexpectedly rose to 51.8 in November from 51.6 in October, suggesting continued firmness despite the expectations of a slowdown in the fourth quarter, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.
The Caixin China Manufacturing PMI is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives at more than 400 manufacturing companies. Compared with the official gauge's coverage of firms including large state-owned companies, the Caixin PMI tends to more closely track small, private manufacturers.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 30, 2017 21:21 ET (02:21 GMT)