China factory activity unexpectedly shrinks in Oct, dents recovery momentum


China’s manufacturing activity unexpectedly contracted in October, underlining the daunting task facing policymakers as they try to revitalise economic growth heading into the end of the year and 2024 amid multiple challenges at home and abroad.

Recent indicators pointed to encouraging signs of stabilising in the world’s second-largest economy, supported by a flurry of policy support measures, although a protracted property crisis and soft global demand remain major headwinds.

The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in October from 50.2, dipping back below the 50-point level demarcating contraction from expansion, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday. It missed a forecast of 50.2 and was worse than the most pessimistic prediction of 49.9 by Standard Chartered in a Reuters poll.

The non-manufacturing PMI also fell to 50.6 last from 51.7 in September, indicating a slowdown in activity in the vast service sector and construction.

“The weak PMI data may reflect some of the weakness in demand related to the housing slump and a slowdown in infrastructure spending,” said Xu Tianchen, senior economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Although there are signs of exports bottoming out, a strong recovery in external demand is probably elusive,” he added.

500K followers? No anonymity 

China’s  popular social media platf orms on Tuesday announced that “selfmedia” accounts with more than 500,000 follo- wers will be asked to display real-name information, a controversial measure that has prompted concerns over doxx-ing and privacy among users.  

First Published: Oct 31 2023 | 11:41 PM IST


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