China manufacturing activity expands at slower pace in March

·1 min read

BEIJING, March 31(Reuters) - China's manufacturing activity expanded at slower pace in March, official data showed on Friday, suggesting hopes of a strong post-COVID economic recovery are faltering amid weaker global demand and a continued property market downturn.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) stood at 51.9, against 52.6 in February, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), above the 50-point mark that separates expansion and contraction in activity on a monthly basis.

That slightly exceeded expectations of 51.5 tipped by economists in a Reuters poll. The February figure had grown at the fastest pace in more than a decade.

China's economic activity picked up in the first two months of 2023 as consumption and infrastructure investment drove a recovery after the end of COVID-19 disruptions and retail sales swung back to growth. (Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jamie Freed)