File photo: CGTN
BEIJING, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector eased to 50.6 in May from 50.8 in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Sunday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
Business activities of the country's manufacturing sector continued to pick up in May, although by a smaller margin than last month, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said.
Of the surveyed manufacturing firms, 81.2 percent saw over 80 percent of their business operation resumed in May, NBS data showed.
The sub-index for production edged down 0.5 percentage points to 53.2 in May, while that for new orders picked up 0.7 percentage points to 50.9, NBS data showed.
The indices measuring new orders in 12 of the 21 surveyed sectors picked up, indicating improved domestic demand, Zhao said.
Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, external demand remained sluggish, with the sub-index measuring new export orders standing at a historically low level of 35.3, NBS data showed.
The indices measuring raw material purchase prices and factory-gate prices rebounded by 9.1 and 6.5 percentage points, respectively, both reaching the highest level in the past four months.
The sub-index gauging firms' expectations for business activities ticked up 3.9 percentage points to 57.9, indicating improved confidence among manufacturing firms.
Sunday's data also showed that the PMI for China's non-manufacturing sector came in at 53.6 in May, up from 53.2 in April.