China’s manufacturing sector contracted in August amid weak exports and consumer demand, adding downward pressure to the struggling economy, according to yesterday’s survey.

The monthly index improved to 49.4 from 49 in July, but is still below the 50-point mark, which indicates declining activity, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and industry groups.

The ruling Communist Party is trying to prop up economic growth, which has fallen to 2.5% in the first half of 2022, less than half the official annual growth target of 5.5%.

The data “points to further loss of momentum in the economy,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a note. “The economy will struggle to make significant headway in the coming months.

Chinese consumer demand slows as property activity plummets after Beijing tightens restrictions on the industry’s use of debt, and repeated shutdowns of factories, stores and neighborhoods to combat coronavirus outbreak doing.

Indicators of export orders, overall orders and employment also improved from July but remained in contraction territory.

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