China manufacturing improves as virus curbs eased

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese manufacturing activity started to rebound in May after the government eased anti-virus restrictions that shut down Shanghai and other industrial centers, an official survey showed Tuesday.

The monthly purchasing managers’ index of the national statistics agency and an industry group, the China Federal of Logistics and purchasing, improved to 49.6% from April’s 47.4 on a 100-point scale. Numbers below 50 show activity contracting.

New orders, exports and employment all improved.

More businesses in Shanghai, China’s most populous city, are being allowed to reopen this week after outbreaks were deemed to be under control. Other industrial centers including Shenzhen in the south and Changchun in the northeast also were temporarily shut down, disrupting manufacturing and trade.

The data indicate “activity has started to rebound as containment measures were rolled back,” Sheana Yue of Capital Economics said in a report. “The recovery is likely to remain tepid amid weak external demand and labor market strains.”

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