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BEIJING, July 31 (Reuters) - China's factory activity shrank for the third straight month in July, an official survey showed on Wednesday, underlining the need for more stimulus to support an economy hit hard by the bruising trade war with the United States.
The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) was at 49.7 in July, slightly higher than 49.4 in June, the survey from the statistics bureau showed. The 50-point mark separates expansion from contraction on a monthly basis.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the PMI would remain in contraction territory, edging up only marginally to 49.6 and pointing to persistent downward pressure on the economy. (Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Beijing Monitoring Desk Editing by Shri Navaratnam)