China's June factory activity expanded faster than last month, beating expectations and indicating a steady economic recovery from the coronavirus shock.
The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) came in at 50.9 in June, compared with May's 50.6, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed on Tuesday, and was above the 50.4 forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts. Analysts had expected it to slow to 50.4.
The 50-point mark separates expansion from contraction on a monthly basis.
But export orders continued to contract, albeit at a slower pace, with a sub-index standing at 42.6 compared to 35.3 in May, well below the 50-point mark.
As major global economies reopen, China's manufacturing import and export index has rebounded from a low level in June, said Zhao.
China's factory activity expanded at a stronger pace last month, as the economy continues to recover after the government lifted strict lockdowns and ramped up investment, but export orders remained weak as the global coronavirus crisis shatters demand. Several manufacturing industries, including petroleum processing and electrical machinery, rebounded by more than 10 percentage points. "The proportion of small enterprises claiming insufficient orders is higher than that of large and medium-sized enterprises", he specified.
The PMI for 14 of the 21 surveyed sectors registered a reading above 50, an increase of five from last month, NBS data showed.
"Company data suggest online retail sales, which account for 20% of total retail sales, have been quite solid in June", it wrote, underlining that e-commerce giant JD.com reported a transaction volume of 269.2 billion yuan during its shopping festival between June 1 and 18. The non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 54.4, from 53.6 in May, suggesting steadily stabilising business confidence.
China's manufacturing activity improved in June after anti-virus controls were eased to revive the economy but export demand was weak, a survey released Tuesday showed.
Still, a sub-index for construction activity, a key driver of growth, fell to 59.8 from 60.8 the previous month, the survey showed, highlighting the uneven nature of the recovery.