August 31, 2018 / 1:19 AM / 3 months ago

China August official factory PMI rises to 51.3, beats expectations

A man drives a forklift past rolls of aluminum coil for export, at a workshop of a company manufacturing aluminum products in Huaibei, Anhui province, China July 22, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Growth in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly picked up in August after sliding for two months, official data showed on Friday, a sign that economic activity is still fairly resilient despite weak investment and an escalating trade battle with the United States.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Friday rose to 51.3 in August from 51.2 in July, and remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction for the 25th straight month.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the reading would dip to 51.0, which would have been the lowest reading in six months.

Weighed down by rising financing costs and slowing investment, China’s economy was already starting to cool even before the trade dispute with Washington escalated.

Beijing is speeding up infrastructure spending and offering help to smaller companies to prevent a sharper slowdown, though policymakers are wary of adding to a mountain of debt that was fueled by past stimulus binges.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill

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