BEIJING, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Growth in activity in China’s vast factory sector slowed to a three-month low in August as output and new orders lost steam, a preliminary private survey showed on Thursday.
The HSBC/Markit Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 50.3 from July’s 18-month high of 51.7, missing a Reuters forecast of 51.5.
It was the lowest reading since May, though the PMI stayed above the 50-point level that separates growth in activity from contraction for a third consecutive month.
A sub-index measuring new orders, a gauge of demand at home and abroad, fell to a three-month low of 51.3.
A sub-index for output also dropped to a three-month low in August.
The final Markit/HSBC manufacturing PMI for August is due September 1.
China’s economic growth appears to be softening again after a hopeful bounce in June, with indicators ranging from lending to output and investment all pointing to more sluggish activity.
Despite a flurry of stimulus measures earlier this year, economists say more government support may be needed if Beijing is to meet its 2014 economic growth target of around 7.5 percent. (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Kim Coghill)