A staff member works on an assembly line at a farm machinery manufacturing company in Jining city, East China’s Shandong province, Feb 15, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

China’s manufacturing activity contracted in March amid pressures from domestic COVID-19 cases and uncertainties from geopolitical tensions, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

The official purchasing managers index for China’s manufacturing sector was at 49.5, compared with 50.2 in February, data from the NBS showed, slipping into contraction after staying in the expansionary territory for four consecutive months.

A PMI reading above 50 points to expansion, while one below signals contraction.

Zhao Qinghe, a senior statistician with the NBS, said the contraction in manufacturing was a combined result of shrinking demand, supply shocks and rising commodity prices amid a complicated external environment and domestic COVID-19 cases.

A sub-index for raw material costs rose to 66.1 in March from 60 a month earlier, while a gauge of new orders came in at 48.8 compared with 50.7 in February, slipping into the contraction territory. And the sub-index for production came in at 49.5 versus 50.4 a month earlier.

China’s non-manufacturing PMI was at 48.4, after 51.6 in February. And the country’s official composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services activity, came in at 48.8, compared with 51.2 in February, according to the NBS.


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