Chinese manufacturing posts weakest reading in five month in private survey

Key Points
  • The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for November came in at 50.8 — below expectations
  • That survey focuses on smaller businesses in China compared to the official PMI reading, which was released on Thursday
Chinese tourists take pictures near Tiananmen Square on the 65th National Day on October 1, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Kevin Frayer | Getty Images

A private survey that focuses on small and medium-sized firms in China showed that manufacturing activity picked up at a slower pace in November.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 50.8 for last month — the lowest level in five months, Caixin and IHS Markit said in a joint press release.

Economists in a Reuters poll had expected the index to read 50.9 for November, lower than 51.0 the previous month.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction.

"For the most part, the manufacturing sector remained stable in November, although some signs of weakness emerged," said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin.

"In the fourth quarter, the economy is likely to maintain the stability observed since the start of the second half of the year. Economic growth in 2017 is expected to be higher than last year, but it may come under downward pressure in 2018," Zhong added.

Caixin/Markit's release followed the Thursday report of the country's official manufacturing PMI, which came in at 51.8 — exceeding expectations despite a crackdown on pollution and a cooling property market.

The Chinese economy has largely performed better than expected this year, boosted by government infrastructure spending, a resilient property market and strength in exports. That helped the country's gross domestic product to grow close to 7 percent in the first nine months of 2017.

But growth in the world's second-largest economy is expected to slow as efforts to clamp down on risky debt get underway and as the property market cools.