January 31, 2018 / 1:10 AM / 2 months ago

China January official factory PMI dips to 51.3, below forecasts

(This version of the Jan. 30 story corrects to say China’s 2017 GDP growth was first annual acceleration in seven, not six, years)

A worker of China National Offshore Oil Co (CNOOC) cuts steel structure for an offshore oil platform in Qingdao, Shandong province, China January 31, 2018. China Daily via REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - Growth in China’s manufacturing sector slowed more than expected in January in the face of a cooling property market and tighter pollution rules that have curtailed factory output.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) released on Wednesday dipped to 51.3 in January, from 51.6 in December. But it remained comfortably above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

Metal tubes for export are seen at Lianyungang port in Jiangsu province, China January 31, 2018. China Daily via REUTERS

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the reading would ease marginally to 51.5.

Boosted by government infrastructure spending, a resilient property market and unexpected strength in exports, China’s manufacturing and industrial firms helped the economy post better-than-expected growth of 6.9 percent in 2017, its first annual acceleration in seven years.

The data gives global investors their first look at business conditions in China at the start of 2018, with the government’s war on winter smog and a continued crackdown on riskier types of financing adding to uncertainty amid early signs of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill

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