China's manufacturing activity stayed steady in September, the final HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) showed on Tuesday, but the reading was lower than the initial print.
The PMI came in at 50.2, unchanged from August and down from the 50.5 flash estimate, but stayed above the boom-bust level of 50.
A sub-index measuring new export orders, a gauge of external demand, expanded to a 4-1/2-year-high of 54.5.
But the survey also pointed to further weakness in the job market, as the sub-index for manufacturing employment shrank for the 11th consecutive month, which is bound to concern China's Communist leaders.
"Chinese economy is not all in one direction. We still see growth in the automobile sector but other sectors are still contracting. I think China is still going through an inventory adjustment in commodities especially so the manufacturing industry will remain sluggish in months to come," Andy Xie of Independent Economist told CNBC.