An official gauge of China’s factory activity fell to the lowest level in three years, or the lowest in exactly 36 months, as production contracted likely due to the Chinese New Year holiday, while external demand weakened further.
China’s February official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index decreased to 49.2 from 49.5 in January, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday. February’s reading is the lowest since March 2016 and was below a forecast of 49.4 from a Wall Street Journal poll of economists.
A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in manufacturing activity, while a reading below 50 shows a contraction. The index has been in contractionary territory for three straight months.