Growth in Chinas manufacturing sector unexpectedly slowed in April as new export orders fell,raising fresh doubts about the strength of the economy after a disappointing first quarter.
The official purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 50.6 in April from an 11-month high in March of 50.9.
Analysts had expected the April PMI to be 51.0. The pull back on the official PMI mirrored a similar decline in a preliminary HSBC PMI last week,suggesting Chinas exports engine faces headwinds from the euro zone recession and sluggish growth in the United States. Chinas new government has signalled it will step up infrastructure investment,which analysts said will provide support for the economy in the second quarter. A string of global data,including lower than expected US economic growth figures,has dented optimism seen at the start of the year that the world economy was picking up.