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China’s factory activity fizzled in November, official data showed Friday, in the latest sign that the world’s second-largest economy is losing steam in the midst of a US trade war.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a key gauge of factory conditions, came in at 50.0 for the month, down from 50.2 in October and below forecast, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
Marking the lowest point in over two years, it is at the level separating expansion from contraction.
New orders decelerated as ‘production remained steady while demand expansion slowed down’, NBS analyst Zhao Qinghe said in a statement.
The new data came as Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are due to meet at the G20 summit taking place in Buenos Aires on Friday and Saturday.
Trump is expected to press Xi for wholesale reform of China’s economy in favour of access for US companies after threatening more tariffs on Chinese imports in January.
Although Trump said he is ‘very close’ to a ceasefire in the trade war, this would hardly add much momentum to China’s domestic growth, Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior economist at Capital Economics, said in a research note.
‘With credit growth still on a downward trajectory and regulators yet to unleash off-budget fiscal support, growth is likely to slow further in the coming months.’
China’s economy grew by 6.5 percent in the third quarter, its slowest pace for nine years.