China's Manufacturing Softens in June Amid Export Weakness

Export demand is uneven as governments fight outbreaks of the new coronavirus variant.

Workers perform welding on transport tanks at a factory in Nantong in eastern China's Jiangsu province Thursday, June 24, 2021.
Workers perform welding on transport tanks at a factory in Nantong in eastern China's Jiangsu province Thursday, June 24, 2021.
Chinatopix Via AP

BEIJING (AP) — Growth in China’s manufacturing activity softened in June as export demand weakened and producers struggled with supply bottlenecks, a survey showed Wednesday.

The monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the national statistics agency and an industry group declined to 50.9 from May’s 51.0 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing.

Measures of new export orders, production and factory gate prices declined.

“The latest surveys suggest that growth softened this month,” Julian Evans-Pritchard and Sheana Yue of Capital Economics said in a report. Supply shortages “continued to hold back output in the manufacturing sector.”

China’s factory output and consumer spending have rebounded to above pre-pandemic levels but export demand is uneven as governments fight outbreaks of the new coronavirus variant.

Companies “still expect to be cautious,” economist Zhang Liqun said in a statement issued by the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing along with the PMI reading.

An index of production declined to 51.9, down 0.8 points from May. New export orders fell by a similar margin to a one-year low of 48.1. That was offset by stronger domestic demand, which pushed up the measure of new orders by 0.2 points to 51.5.

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