BEIJING, Nov 1 (Reuters) - China's manufacturing sector grew at the fastest in 18 months in October, official data showed on Friday, adding to signs of a stabilisation in the world's No.2 economy as the government readies a series of key economic reforms.
The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.4 last month, up from September's 51.1 and above a forecast of 51.2 in a Reuters poll of economists.
There have been signs that the world's No.2 economy is stabilising after a disappointing run of data last month, including a below-forecast official PMI and a surprise drop in exports.
Signs of an improvement will help the government push its reform agenda at the upcoming Communist Party's third plenary meeting from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12.
In the first nine months of the year, the economy grew 7.7 percent from a year earlier, putting it on track to achieve Beijing's 2013 target of 7.5 percent, although that would be the weakest growth rate in 23 years.
Economists in a recent Reuters poll saw China's economy growing at 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter from 7.8 percent in the third.
(Reporting By Natalie Thomas)