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China manufacturing growth grows for third month

BEIJING – Chinese manufacturing grew for the third consecutive month in May, suggesting a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is stabilizing, a state-sanctioned industry group said Sunday.

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its monthly purchasing managers index rose to 50.8 points in May on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding. That was up from April’s 50.4 points and represented the highest level this year.

China’s economic growth was down to 7.4 percent in the first quarter as leaders try to reduce reliance on trade and investment and boost domestic consumption. Chinese leaders have launched several mini-stimulus efforts when the economy appeared to be cooling too sharply.

In a more pessimistic report, HSBC’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index released last month showed Chinese manufacturing rose to 49.7 in May from 48.1 in April, indicating that it contracted in April for the fourth straight month but at a less severe pace of decline.

The official survey gives more weight to China’s big state companies while HSBC’s focuses more on small private enterprises, and the difference indicates the latter are under more pressure amid the slowdown.

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