BEIJING (AP) — Chinese manufacturing growth slowed in April as global demand weakened, adding to signs its shaky recovery might be weakening, a survey showed Thursday.
HSBC Corp.'s purchasing managers index fell to 50.4 from March's 51.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show an expansion in activity.
"The slower growth of manufacturing activities in April confirmed a fragile growth recovery of the Chinese economy as external demand deteriorated," said HSBC economist Hongbin Qu in a statement.
China's economic growth suffered an unexpected slowdown in the first three months of the year, declining to7.7 percent from the previous quarter's 7.9 percent. The World Bank and private sector analysts have trimmed their forecasts for full-year growth, though to still robust levels of about 8 percent.
Chinese leaders are trying to reduce reliance on trade and investment by nurturing self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption but consumer spending is growing more slowly than they want.
Analysts say the shaky recovery is being supported by state-driven investment and could be vulnerable if trade or investment weakens.
A separate survey Wednesday by an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, also showed manufacturing growth weakening. The group's PMI fell to 50.6 from March's 50.9.
HSBC said factory production expanded for a sixth straight month but growth was hurt by weaker output and new orders. New export orders contracted for the first time this year.
"All this is likely to weigh on the labor market, which is likely to invite more policy responses in the coming months," said Qu.