China factory activity slips again as slowdown weighs

HONG KONG – Chinese manufacturing deteriorated again last month, according to surveys released Friday, signalling further weakness in the world’s No. 2 economy as it undergoes a prolonged slowdown.

An official survey of factory purchasing managers ticked down to 50.0 in June from 50.1 the month before.

By coming in at the exact midpoint of the 100-point scale, the latest reading on the Chinese Federation of Logistics & Purchasing’s survey indicates that factory activity neither expanded nor contracted from the month before.

A separate private survey released the same day painted a more pessimistic picture of conditions in China’s manufacturing sector, which employs many millions of workers.

The Caixin/Markit index contracted further, slipping to 48.6 last month from 49.2 in May as production shrank at the quickest pace in four months.

However, an official survey of activity in the service sector picked up pace, rising to 53.7 last month from 53.1 previously.

Policymakers in Beijing are battling to revive growth in China’s economy, which slowed to a 25-year low last year, but have little to show for their efforts.

The anxiety and uncertainty sparked by Britain’s vote last week to leave the European Union is adding further challenges to a weak global outlook that’s been hobbling demand in export markets.