China's factory output shrank again in December after new orders fell, a preliminary purchasing managers' survey showed, entrenching expectations that manufacturers are struggling with waning global demand and tight domestic credit conditions.
The HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI), the earliest indicator of China's industrial activity, stood at 49 in December, a modest rise from November's 47.7 but pointing to a monthly contraction in activity nonetheless.
A PMI reading of 50 demarcates expansion from contraction.
Underlying indices showed factories were hit by an outright fall in domestic new orders, while growth in new export orders slowed. New orders shrank for the second straight month with the sub-index at 47.4