Growth in China’s manufacturing sector slowed in April as expansion in production and new orders eased despite supplier delivery times accelerating in the world’s second largest economy. The China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which is seen as a composite indicator of the country’s manufacturing sector and is based on five group indices, posted a reading of 51.2 in April, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, down from 51.8 in March and marking the lowest growth rate since October 2016. Readings above 50 signal expansion while those below denote recession in the manufacturing economy.
Sub-index readings presented a mixed picture with the measure for production growth having softened to a reading of 53.8 in April, down from 54.2 in March. The gauge for new orders slid to 52.3 from 53.3 in March and the indicator people employed in the industry retreated to 49.2 from 50 in April. Only the sub-indexes for main raw materials inventory and supplier delivery times showed different trends, with the former holding steady at 48.3 while the latter advanced by 0.2 percentage points to 50.3.