China Manufacturing Slides Further

A Chinese manufacturing gauge trailed economists’ estimates in April as new orders declined, underscoring forecasts for policy makers to step up stimulus to shore up growth.

The final Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 48.9, missing the median estimate of 49.4 in a Bloomberg News survey and lower than the preliminary reading of 49.2. Numbers below 50 indicate contraction.

With economic expansion threatening to dip below the leadership’s 2015 target of about 7 percent — one state-affiliated group reportedly sees a 6.8 percent pace this quarter — officials have already loosened monetary policy. Anticipation of more measures to come has helped stoke a rally in stocks the past two months.