China's factory activity skidded to a three-year low point in January, adding to further gloom about the state of the world's second-largest economy.
The government-compiled January manufacturing purchasing manager's index (PMI) came in at 49.4, slightly missing Reuters consensus estimates for a 49.6 reading and ticking down from December's 49.7 figure. It was the weakest result since 2012 and marked the sixth straight month in contraction territory.
The mood was worsened by a private survey by Caixin and Markit that showed January manufacturing activity shrinking for the eleventh straight month. Caixin's survey, which tracks smaller firms than the official indicator, came in at 48.4, compared to December's reading of 48.2.
A score below 50 indicates a contraction in the sector, while one above 50 means expansion.
"Chinese manufacturers signaled a modest deterioration in operating conditions at the start of 2016, with both output and employment declining at slightly faster rates than in December. Total new business meanwhile fell at the weakest rate in seven months," Markit said in a statement.
But helping to offset the disappointment was a separate survey also released on Monday, that showed growth in the Chinese services sector had held above the key 50 level. The January official non-manufacturing purchasing manager's index came in at 53.5, versus 54.4 in December.