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China manufacturing shrinks but 'hard landing remote'

Manufacturing activity in China contracted for the second straight month in August, but a slight pick-up suggested an economic slump was less likely, early data from HSBC indicated.

HSBC''s preliminary purchasing managers'' index rose to 49.8 in August from 49.3 in July - which was the lowest level in 28 months and the first contraction in a year. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction.

However, the figures also showed the cost of raw materials rose at a faster rate this month, complicating Beijing''s efforts to rein in inflation in the world''s second-largest economy.

The August reading is subject to revision when the bank publishes its final figures on September 1.

New export orders continued to contract in August although the sub-index reached the highest level in three months, HSBC said, amid deepening economic woes in the United States and Europe -- key buyers of Chinese-made products.

HSBC chief economist Qu Hongbin said the improvement in manufacturing activity this month showed that "the hard landing risk is still remote".

Source: The Telegraph

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