The activity of Chinese factories fell in April

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BEIJING – An official indicator of the activity of Chinese factories fell in April after a strong rebound in March, as the coronavirus pandemic put pressure on external demand.
The official index of manufacturers’ purchasing managers fell to 50.8 in April from 52.0 in March, the National Bureau of Statistics announced on Thursday.

Still, the index remains above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.
Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal expected an April PMI of 51.0. Purchases by manufacturers are a leading indicator of commercial activity as factories buy supplies in anticipation of demand.

The increased uncertainty caused by the epidemic abroad has presented more challenges for China’s foreign trade, said Zhao Qinghe, senior statistician at the statistics office.
The new export orders sub-index, an indicator of external demand, fell to 33.5 in April from 46.4 in March. The import sub-index fell to 43.9 from 48.4 in March. The production sub-index fell to 53.7 from 54.1 in March.
As the world struggles to contain the pandemic, Beijing has made great efforts to restart the Chinese economy and restore consumer confidence.

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