Factory activity in China fell more than expected in December

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© Reuters. A worker wearing a face mask works on a production line making a steel bicycle rim at a factory as a new coronavirus epidemic hits the country, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China March 2, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS/File Photo

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s manufacturing activity fell for a third straight month in December, an official factory survey showed on Sunday, as factories battled weak demand, dimming prospects for the country’s economic recovery.

The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.0 in December from 49.4 the previous month, below the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction and weaker than the median forecast of 49.5 in a Reuters poll.

The government has introduced a series of measures in recent months to boost China’s weak post-pandemic economic recovery, which has been hampered by a property slump, local government debt risks and sluggish global growth.