Chinese factory activity edges higher in December

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Employees work on the production line assembling diagnostic kits for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) at a pharmaceutical factory in Nantong in eastern China's Jiangsu province Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. Chinese factory activity edged higher in December as supply disruptions eased and export demand weakened, a survey showed Friday. (Chinatopix Via AP) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese factory activity edged higher in December as supply disruptions eased and export demand weakened, a survey showed Friday.

The monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the national statistics agency and an industry group gained to 50.3 from November’s 50.1 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity accelerating.

Chinese manufacturing has been hampered by shortages of some components including semiconductors and disruptions in shipping. Some areas ordered factories to shut down temporarily starting in September to meet official energy efficiency targets.

A measure of new orders improved to 49.7 from November’s 49.4, according to the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing and the National Bureau of Statistics, though demand still was weak. An index of export orders sank to 48.1 from 48.5.

“The overall recovery of China’s economy is clearer,” economist Zhang Liqun said in a statement issued by the federation. However, he said, the country needs to “enhance the overall effect of the policy of expanding domestic demand” and get industrial supplies flowing smoothly.

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