China’s manufacturing activity picked up in July and export orders rose despite weak demand from the United States and Europe, a study on Friday showed new signs that the world’s second-largest economy is gradually recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
The monthly index of purchasing managers, issued by the Chinese Bureau of Statistics and Industry Group, rose to 51.1 from June on a 50.9 on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 indicate an increase in activity.
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The measure for new orders improved to 51
The results suggest that “China’s economy continues to maintain an upward trend,” the federation said in a statement.
China, where the pandemic began in December, was the first economy to stop fighting the virus and the first to try to revive business after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the disease in March.
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The economy grew by an unexpectedly strong 3.2% from a year earlier in the three months ending in June, recovering from a 6.8% contraction in the previous quarter.
Production is close to normal, but retailers, restaurants and other service sectors are struggling.
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Forecasters warn that exports are likely to decline again later in the year as demand for masks, surgical gloves and other medical supplies eases. This will increase the burden on Chinese consumers and government incentive spending to continue the recovery.