ChinaREUTERS/David GreyDemonstrators cast their shadows onto a Chinese national flag during a protest outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing September 14, 2012.

China’s flash reading for its manufacturing purchasing manager’s index came in at 50.5.

That’s a three month low.

Full release »

The consensus estimate was for 50.8, unchanged from the prior reading in November. That was already a two-month low.

At 51.8, the output index hit a two-month low.

But new order growth hit a nine-month high. HSBC economist Hongbin Qu commented:

“The December HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI reading slowed marginally from November’s final reading. But it still stands above the average reading for 3Q, implying that the recovering trend of the manufacturing sector starting from July still holds up. As a result, we expect China’s GDP growth to stabilise at around 7.8% yoy in 4Q.”

It’s officially Flash PMI day, and we’ll get readings for Europe and the U.S. too in the next 24 hours.

Markets appear to be falling on the print. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.46% just prior to the survey’s release, and is now down 0.56%.

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