The industrial activity of China grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, shaken by a wave of domestic infections by coronavirus, but still in line with the recovery underway in the second largest economy of the world.
The industry’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (SMEs, fell to 51.3 in January from 51.9 in December, the national statistics office said in a statement on Sunday.
The indicator remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis, but was below the 51.6 expected by analysts, according to a Reuters survey.
No service sector, activity expanded for the 11th consecutive month, but also slowed down, said the statistics department.
The official services PMI fell to 52.4 from 55.7 in December.
The official composite PMI, which combines industry and service data, fell to 52.8 from 55.1 in December.
In January, mainland China reported more than 2,000 cases of coronavirus. Although the number is small compared to other countries, the authorities were concerned about the risks of transmission during the travel period of the Lunar New Year, which constitutes the largest human migration in the world and takes place over 40 days in January and February.
During the month, several major cities were closed with tens of millions tested for Covid-19, disrupting manufacturing activity and weighing on the services sector, including logistics and transportation.