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Sept. 1, 2019, 8:40 p.m. EDT

China factory activity dips for 4th straight month

By MarketWatch

BEIJING -- An official gauge of China's factory activity dropped in August amid sluggish demand, indicating a fourth straight month of contraction.

The manufacturing purchasing managers index edged down to 49.5 in August from 49.7 in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday. August's reading came in slightly lower than a median forecast of 49.6 by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in manufacturing activity, while a reading below 50 shows a contraction.

"Overall market demand faces pressure, although production continued to expand," bureau economist Zhao Qinghe said in a separate statement accompanying the data.

A subindex measuring production edged down to 51.9 from July's 52.1, while the new-orders subindex went down a tick to 49.7 from 49.8. The new-export subindex, an indicator of external demand for Chinese goods, rose to 47.2 from 46.9 in July. The new import subindex, an indicator of domestic demand, declined to 46.7 from 47.4.

The data are based on replies to monthly questionnaires sent to purchasing executives at 3,000 companies in 31 manufacturing sectors.

China's official nonmanufacturing PMI, also released Saturday, edged up to 53.8 from 53.7 in July.

Liyan Qi

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.