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China September official factory PMI rises to 52.4, highest since 2012

BEIJING, Sept 30 (Reuters) - China's manufacturing activity grew faster than expected in September as factories cranked up production to take advantage of strong demand and high prices fuelled by a year-long building boom.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) released on Saturday stood at 52.4 in September, compared to 51.7 in August and well above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

That was the highest reading since April 2012.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the reading would come in at 51.5, easing marginally from August.

China's long-ailing industrial sector is reporting its strongest earnings in years, fuelled by a government-led infrastructure spending spree, stronger factory-gate prices and a recovery in exports.

The economy grew by a faster-than-expected 6.9 percent in the first half of 2017, and looks set to easily meet the government's full-year target of around 6.5 percent. (Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Richard Pullin)