China’s economic recovery hit a speed bump in May as the coronavirus pandemic began curbing the world’s demand for Chinese goods.

More and more Chinese factories have reopened for work in the past three months as authorities have eased their once-aggressive coronavirus measures. But now they are facing the dire reality of falling orders from overseas customers.

The conundrum can be seen in official and private gauges of China’s factory activity. China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index and a closely watched private survey, the Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers index, both showed factory activity expanding in May.

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