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China’s factory activity shrinks amid Covid disruption

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China’s factory activity unexpectedly shrank in July as sporadic Covid outbreaks disrupted the sector and the slowing global economy weighed on demand.The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.0 in July from 50.2 in June, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday.

That was weaker than forecast, below the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction.Indexes tracking output and new orders fell during July, with the sharpest contraction in activity coming in energy-intensive industries, such as petrol, coking coal and ferrous metals.“The level of economic prosperity in China has fallen; the foundation for recovery still needs consolidation,” the NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said.China has been hit by fresh Covid-19 outbreaks since lifting a two-month lockdown in Shanghai at the start of June.

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