BEIJING, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector came in at 51.9 in December, edging down 0.2 percentage points from November, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
The December PMI remained in the expansion zone for the tenth consecutive month, indicating that the country's manufacturing sector continued its steady recovery, said NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe, adding that the reading stood at a high level within the year.
The sub-index for production stood at 54.2 in December, down 0.5 percentage points from November, while that for new orders dropped 0.3 percentage points to 53.6.
Despite the slight decline from the previous month, the two sub-indexes saw their gap continue to narrow, which indicated a more balanced relationship between production and demand, Zhao said.
Meanwhile, the new export order and import sub-indexes edged down from 51.5 and 50.9 in November to 51.3 and 50.4, respectively, staying within the expansion territory.
The sub-index for exporters' outlooks for their production and business activities maintained an eight-month recovery to reach a one-year high, while the high-tech manufacturing sector, with its sub-index remaining above the manufacturing PMI throughout 2020, has played a vital role in pushing forward the recovery of the manufacturing sector, Zhao said.
Thursday's data also showed that the PMI for China's non-manufacturing sector came in at 55.7 in December, down from 56.4 in November. The non-manufacturing PMI has remained above 50 for 10 consecutive months, NBS data showed.
In December, the service sector saw a slower recovery, with the sub-index for business activities standing at 54.8. The figure was down from 55.7 in November but still remained at a relatively elevated level for the year.
Analyzing the December PMI readings, Wen Bin, chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank, said in a co-authored research note that the Chinese economy has rebounded steadily, but challenges still linger for future recovery.
More support should be provided for the manufacturing industry and small firms, while policies need to be more targeted and effective, Wen added.
China aims to keep the economy running within a reasonable range and adhere to the strategy of expanding domestic demand in the coming year, according to the tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference that took place in December. Enditem