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China Oct official manufacturing PMI rises to 51.4

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 9:03 PM ET

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)