China’s manufacturing gauge falls to 28-month low

A gauge of China’s manufacturing activity fell to a 28-month low in January amid economic slowdown, according to official data Sunday, although January typically is a month of slower activities as China’s factories prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

  • gauge – a device for measuring the amount or size of something

China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing released the latest official data for January, in which the monthly purchasing managers’ index fell to 49.8 from 50.1 the previous month. The index uses a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. January’s reading meant activity contracted from the previous month.

The last time the official index registered 49.8 was for September 2012.

China’s economy, the world’s second largest, grew 7.4 percent last year, its slowest expansion in nearly a quarter century.

Forecasters expect growth to wane further in the next several years as China emphasizes consumption over heavy industry and manufacturing that have severely polluted the environment.

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