China's manufacturing sector falls sharply

China's all-important manufacturing sector took a hit in May, as the country's factories continue to struggle amid global economic woes.

The National Bureau of Statistics said Friday that its official index of purchasing managers' sentiment dropped to 50.4 in May, its lowest level in five months, from 53.3 in April.

The index bottomed out at 49 in November. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while readings below 50 indicate contraction.

Meanwhile, HSBC also issued a report Friday morning showing that factory output fell to 48.4 in May, with average input costs falling for the first time since January. The weak report from the banking company signals the seventh straight month of declining manufacturing activity in China.


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