China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector dropped to 50.2 percent in February, down from 50.5 percent for January, official data showed today.
February continued January's decline with most sub-indices shrinking, according to a statement jointly released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).
A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while that above 50 signals expansion.
The index shows the manufacturing sector was expanding, but the growth rate was slowing down, said Zhao Qinghe, a senior analyst with the NBS.
Zhao attributed the decline to the Spring Festival holiday, when most enterprises suspended production and workers went back home for the holiday.
In February, the sub-index for production stood at 52.6 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from January, while the sub-index for new orders lost 0.4 percentage points to 50.5 percent, said the statement.
Two sub-indexes on foreign trade of the sector both declined. The sub-index for new export orders edged down to 48.2 percent and import sub-index dropped to 46.5 percent.
Despite overall retreats, the sub-index for production and business expectation climbed to 61.8 percent, indicating strengthening enterprises' confidence for future economic growth.