A survey focused on small and mid-size businesses in China met expectations on Wednesday.
The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for October came in at 51.0. Economists polled by Reuters expected the private PMI reading to be at 51.0 for October — unchanged from September.
While the reading signaled a marginal improvement in manufacturing operating conditions across China, production increased at the weakest pace in fourth months, Caixin and Markit said in a joint press release. Coupled with growth in new orders, that means there was an increase in outstanding business, they added.
Output may still be pressured in the months ahead.
"The stringent production curbs imposed by the government to reduce pollution and relatively low inventory levels have added to cost pressures on companies in midstream and downstream industries, which could have a negative impact on production in the coming months," said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a Caixin subsidiary.
Caixin/Markit's release follows China's National Bureau of Statistics reporting Tuesday that the country's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for the month of October came in at 51.6 — missing expectations in part due to efforts to cut excess capacity and pollution.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction.
China's economic data have been showing robust growth this year.
But many expect the mainland's economy to slow in the latter part of the year due to a crackdown on debt and as the property market cools.
Compared with the official PMI, the Caixin/Markit survey tends to focus more on small- and mid-sized manufacturers.