Activity in China’s factories increased marginally in April but export orders fell sharply, a government survey showed on Thursday, adding to questions about whether the world’s second-largest economy is stabilizing after its first-quarter slowdown.
The data came a day after Premier Li Keqiang pledged to step up support for the trade sector, adding to measures taken over the past month on concerns that the economy may be losing momentum more quickly than expected.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.4 in April from March’s 50.3, the National Bureau of Statistics said, one of the first indicators of how the economy started the second quarter. At just above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction, it indicated a slight pick-up in activity for the month, although it was a notch below economists’ expectations.
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