BEIJING, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Factory activity in China stalled in January, with an outbreak of a new virus adding to risks facing the economy despite easing trade tensions.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 50.0 in January from 50.2 in December, China's National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, hitting the neutral 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the January headline reading to come in at 50.0.
More than 200 people have died from the virus in China in the last few weeks, prompting widespread transport curbs and tough public health measures that are weighing heavily on the travel, tourism and retail sectors. Analysts say the fast-spreading virus could hurt first-quarter GDP growth.
China's economic growth cooled to its weakest in nearly 30 years in 2019 amid a bruising trade war with the United States. (Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Sam Holmes)