The pace of growth among China’s manufacturers eased last month but output continued to expand, figures suggest.
The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers index fell to 53.9 in December, from 55.2 in November and 54.7 in October.
It was the first time in five months that the measure had fallen.
Monthly PMI (Purchasing Manager Index) readings have stayed above 50, indicating expansion, for 22 months.
Analysts maintain that strong domestic demand has continued to offset weakness in some of the country’s export markets such as the US and Europe.
Chinese authorities have been taking steps to try to control growth in a bid to control inflation – which in November hit a 28-month high.
On Christmas day, Beijing raised key interest rates, the second such move in less than three months.
And the amount of money banks keep in reserve has also been restricted to try to reduce bank lending levels.
The latest data showed that China’s economy grew at an annual pace of 9.6% in the three months to the end of September from 11.9% in the first quarter of this year.
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