China's nationwide factory activity contracted in May for the first time in nearly a year, according to a private gauge that gave a weaker reading for the manufacturing sector than official data.
The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 49.6 in May from 50.3 in April, indicating a decline in activity, Caixin Media Co. and research firm Markit said Thursday.
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The result also ended an expansion of manufacturing activity that had lasted for 11 straight months. The 50 level separates an expansion in manufacturing activity from contraction.
"China's manufacturing sector has come under greater pressure in May and the economy is clearly on a downward trajectory," Zhengsheng Zhong, an economist at CEBM Group, said in a statement.
Mr. Zhong also said the subindexes for input costs and output prices dropped into contractionary territory for the first time since June 2016 and February 2016, respectively.
The softer Caixin PMI reading comes after China's official manufacturing PMI, a government gauge, remained unchanged at 51.2 in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.
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.
"China May Caixin Final Manufacturing PMI 49.6 Vs 50.3 in April," at 0201 GMT, misstated "the result ended an expansion" that lasted for "11 straight months" in the third paragraph. It should be "The result was the first contraction of manufacturing activity in 11 months."
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 31, 2017 22:32 ET (02:32 GMT)