The unexpected contraction in China’s factory activity in May has heightened the risk of a further slowdown in the second quarter, after the world’s second largest economy grew at its slowest pace in three years over January to March, said economists.
The flash HSBC Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) for May that was released on Thursday slipped to 49.6, falling under the key 50 level, which divides expansion from contraction, for the first since October. Last month, the final HSBC PMI stood at 50.4. The decline was driven partly by a fall in new orders – with the sub-index dropping to 49.5, the lowest reading since September.
“It is not good and it does increase the chances of a sequential slowdown in the second quarter GDP [gross domestic product]. Simply put, domestic demand this time wasn’t strong enough to counter fully the impact of still weak external demand,” Donna Kwok, greater China economist at HSBC told CNBC on Thursday.
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