China manufacturing gauge edges up in Dec

Factory activity in China picked up slightly in December, despite still remaining in negative territory, official data show.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China announced last week China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector was 49.7 in December, up by 0.1 point from a month earlier.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in activity, while a lower reading suggests contraction.

Zhao Qinghe, a senior statistician at the bureau, said in a statement accompanying the result that the slight increase in December’s PMI was due to the recovery in both the supply and demand. But he warned the manufacturing industry was still subject to “relatively large downward pressure”.

The statistics bureau also said the PMI for the services sector in China stood at 54.4 in December, up from 53.6 in November.

China’s President, Xi Jinping said in his New Year address that the world’s second-largest economy would in 2016 continue to press ahead with structural reforms in political and economic areas.