China’s manufacturing, services sectors weaken in January


Workers move boxes of computers on a street of Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. China eked out 2.3% economic growth in 2020, likely becoming the only major economy to expand as shops and factories reopened relatively early from a shutdown to fight the coronavirus while the United States, Japan and Europe struggled with disease flare-ups. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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BEIJING (AP) — An official indicator of China’s manufacturing activity weakened for a second consecutive month in January, following outbreaks of domestic COVID-19 cases that affected the operations of some industries.

The purchasing managers’ index, or PMI, for China’s manufacturing sector fell to 51.3 in January, down 0.6 percentage points from December, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Sunday.

Readings above 50 indicate expansion of the manufacturing industry, while a reading below it reflects a contraction.

China has seen new virus clusters across the country, particularly in the north, and restrictions have been tightened to curb the spread.

NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said that locally transmitted coronavirus cases had affected the operations of certain industries, and that January is typically an off-season for factories due to the Lunar New Year holidays.

Separately, the indicators for China’s service industry also dipped in January amid the local outbreaks.

The PMI for China’s non-manufacturing sector came in at 52.4 in January, down from 55.7 in December, according to NBS.

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