Chinese industry falters amid COVID-19 outbreak

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BEIJING (AP) — Chinese manufacturing contracted for a third straight month in December, in the biggest drop since the start of 2020, as the country battles a nationwide surge of COVID-19 after suddenly easing measures. anti-epidemic.

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The monthly purchasing managers’ index fell to 47.0 from 48.0 in November, according to data released Saturday by the National Bureau of Statistics. Numbers below 50 indicate a contraction in activity.

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The contraction was the largest since February 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic had just started.

The weakening comes as China earlier this month abruptly eased COVID-19 restrictions after years of attempts to eradicate the virus. The country of 1.4 billion people is now facing a nationwide outbreak and authorities have stopped publishing a daily tally of COVID-19 infections.

Several other sub-indexes, including for large companies, production and demand in the manufacturing market also fell from November.

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« Some companies surveyed reported that due to the impact of the epidemic, the logistics and transportation manpower was insufficient, and the delivery time was extended, » said Zhao Qinghe, senior economist at the bureau of statistics in a published analysis of the December data.

According to data from the bureau, sectors such as construction saw an expansion in December, along with sub-indexes that measure industries such as air transport, telecommunications and monetary and financial services.

The PMI for China’s non-manufacturing sector also fell to 41.6 in December from 46.7 in November.

China will likely miss its 5.5% economic growth target this year, with forecasters cutting their outlook to 3% annual growth, which would be the second weakest since at least the 1980s.


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