China's official PMI, which was released on Saturday and
measures activity in big factories, fell to an eight-month low in
February of 50.2 from 50.5 in January.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
is a key driver of China's growth, but the data may have been affected
by the Chinese New Year when many factories were shut and workers went
home in late January and early February.
for the official PMI survey were for a reading of 50.1, while the HSBC
reading came in as expected, marking the third straight monthly decline
and a seven-month low.
becoming clear the risks to GDP growth are tilting to the downside,"
Hongbin Qu, chief economist for China at HSBC, said in a statement.
calls for policy fine-tuning measures to stabilise market expectations
and steady the pace of growth in the coming quarters."
The index that measures new orders in big factories fell 0.4 percentage points to 50.5.
employment sub-index in the HSBC survey also fell for a fourth straight
month to to 47.2 - its lowest level since early 2009.
The employment index is one of few that measures the job market on the Chinese mainland.
Despite the disappointing official PMI numbers, economists in China remained reasonably upbeat about the economic outlook .
from market demand and production in some industries, we expect
economic growth to remain steady in the future," said Zhang Liqun, an
economist at China's Development Research Centre, which helps compile
the official PMI data.
National People's Congress, which begins on Wednesday, should see an
official economic growth target announced for 2014.
Premier Li Keqiang is expected to stick with a target of 7.5% growth for this year.
In 2013, official data showed that China's economy grew by 7.7%, though many question these official numbers.