THE NUMBERS: An HSBC report says an index covering China's manufacturing sector fell to 47.7 this month from June's 48.2. Any number under 50 shows decline. It's an 11-month low.
WHAT IT MEANS: The drop puts pressure on Chinese leaders to reverse a deepening slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
BIG PICTURE: A stimulus would temporarily set back Beijing's efforts to nurture self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and reduce reliance on exports and investment. But communist leaders might feel compelled to backtrack if a sharper-than-expected slowdown raises the risk of job losses and political tensions. Growth has declined for two quarters.