Chinese manufacturing weakens, adding to economic pressure

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese manufacturing weakened in October, an official survey showed Monday, adding to downward pressure on the economy as the ruling Communist Party tries to reverse a slowdown.

A monthly purchasing managers’ index declined to 49.2 from September’s 50.1 on a 100-point scale where numbers below 50 indicate activity contracting, according to the government statistics bureau and an official industry group.

Measures of production, new orders and employment declined, the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing announced.

The reading was in line with forecasts that economic growth would weaken in late 2022 as global demand for exports cooled and repeated shutdowns of Chinese cities to fight virus outbreaks weighed on consumer spending.

The figures “point to a further loss of momentum this month as virus disruptions worsened and export orders remained under pressure,” said Zichun Huang of Capital Economics in a report.

The ruling party is trying to reverse a slump after economic growth slid to 2.2% percent over a year earlier in the first half of 2022. It is trying to do that without easing off a crackdown on debt that has chilled the real estate industry, a major economic engine.

Economic growth rebounded to 3.9% over a year earlier in the three months ending in September from the previous quarter’s 0.4%. But retail sales growth fell to 2.5% in September from the previous month’s 5.4%.

Also in September, export growth declined to 5.7% over a year ago from the previous month’s 7%. Imports crept up 0.3% in a sign of weak Chinese demand.

Forecasters have cut their outlook for China’s annual growth this year to as low as 3%, which would be the second-weakest since at least the 1980s.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.