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Manufacturing decline got slower in February

CHINA'S manufacturing continued to decline in February, but at a slower pace.

The CLSA China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, a measure of conditions in the manufacturing industry, rose to 45.1 in February from 42.2 the previous month but was still below 50 which indicates deterioration, according to a CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets report yesterday.

The export orders index rose to 39.5 in February from 36.3 in January; the output prices index climbed to 43.9 from 39.7; the orders index was up to 44.2 from 39.9; and the employment index rose to 46.6 from 45, the report said.

"Manufacturing activity is still contracting, only at a more moderate pace than at the end of 2008. Despite the bounce in credit data in January the impact on domestic manufacturing orders so far seems modest. Most of the improvement in the PMI new orders index reflects export orders," said Eric Fishwick, head of economic research at CLSA.

It was the seventh straight month in which the index was below the 50 that marks the difference between expansion and contraction, and the fourth-lowest reading since the survey began in 2004.

The country's exports dipped 17.5 percent in January, the biggest in percentage terms since October 1998.


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