Chinese manufacturing activity edged up in July and export orders strengthened despite weak US and European demand, a survey showed on Friday, in further signs that the world’s second-largest economy is gradually recovering from sluggishness. coronavirus pandemic.
The monthly purchasing managers index released by China’s bureau of statistics and an industry group rose to 51.1 from June’s 50.9 on a 100-point scale. Numbers over 50 show increased activity.
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A measure of new orders improved to 51.4 from 51.7, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Logistics and Purchasing Federation. New export orders rose 5.8 points to 48.4.
The results suggest that “the Chinese economy continues to maintain a rebounding trend,” the federation said in a statement.
China, where the pandemic began in December, was the first economy to shut down to fight the virus and the first to try to get business going after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the disease in March.
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The economy grew surprisingly strong 3.2% from a year earlier in the three months ending June, rebounding from a 6.8% contraction in the previous quarter.
Manufacturing is close to normal, but retail, restaurants and other service industries are struggling.
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Forecasters warn that exports are expected to decline later in the year, once demand for masks, surgical gloves and other medical supplies slackens. This will increase the burden on Chinese consumers and government stimulus spending to keep the recovery on track.