Activities in China's manufacturing sector slowed down in February as the Lunar New Year holiday has put a lid on business operations.
The Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 50.6 in February from 51.3 a month earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said, hitting the lowest in nine months, but it remained above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.
The Lunar New Year holiday, which officially ran in February 11-17 this year, slackened factories' production and business, said Zhao Qinghe, the NBS senior statistician.
Although many factories this year kept operation in response to the government's call to reduce long-distance travel amid the COVID-19 during the holiday, it was still hard to make up for the seasonal loss.
Sub-indexes for new orders shed 0.8 production points from January, and that for production dropped 1.6 points.
But generally, China's manufacturing activity is running stable particularly in medicine, electrical machinery and equipment sectors, Zhao said.
China's economic growth ended up last year in 2.3%, the only major economy that achieved positive growth in the world. Experts expected the annual growth this year could reach 8-9%, with bouncing back of a possible two-digit growth in the first quarter.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Alex Guo)
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