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China Nov official factory PMI rises to 51.8, beats forecasts

BEIJING, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Growth in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly picked up in November, despite a crackdown on air pollution and a cooling property market that have been widely expected to weigh on the world's second-largest economy.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) released on Thursday stood at 51.8 in November, compared with 51.6 in October and comfortably above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the reading would come in at 51.4, easing for a second straight month after September's more than five-year high.

Boosted by government infrastructure spending, a resilient property market and unexpected strength in exports, China's manufacturing and industrial firms helped the economy post better-than-expected growth of nearly 6.9 percent through the first nine months of this year.

But October economic data disappointed analysts as investment, industrial output and export growth all slowed, raising concerns that a long-expected slowdown had arrived. (Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Kim Coghill)