China’s manufacturing activity hit five-month low in May | Manufacturing Asia
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China’s manufacturing activity hit five-month low in May

The slump in new orders, production, inventory and employment dragged the official manufacturing PMI last month.

China’s factory activity slumped to a five-month low in May as weak demand persisted, according to latest government statistics.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) dipped further to 48.8 last month from 49.2 in April, falling further below the 50 neutral mark that separates deterioration from expansion, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported Thursday. 

Last month's reading was the lowest in five months or since the index plunged to 47 last December.

NBS traced the drop in the headline figure to the contraction seen in four out of five sub-indices, with only the supplier delivery time index recording improvement with a 50.5 reading last month from 50.3 previously.

New orders deteriorated for the second straight month last month at 48.3, as “market demand of the manufacturing industry continued to fall,” it said. 

Production activity also slowed with a 49.6 reading, snapping the three-month consecutive growth seen from February to April. Manufacturers’ inventory of raw materials continued to decline last month settling at a five-month low of 47.6. 

The employment index also slumped further to 48.4 to mark its three straight months of deterioration as the outlook for the sector’s job market dims.

NBS data showed businesses were still bullish on China’s manufacturing sector as the overall business expectation index stood at 54.1 last month, slightly down from 54.7 in April but still way above the neutral mark.

For China’s non-manufacturing segment, its PMI remained in expansion mode albeit at a slower pace of 54.5 in May from the 56.4 reading the month prior.

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