China's factory activity starts the second quarter the same way it ended the first - weak

Shanghai, China. Photo: Getty Images

Activity across China’s manufacturing sector contracted at a faster pace than initially reported in April, with the final reading of the HSBC-Markit manufacturing PMI sliding to 48.9.

The reading – down on 49.6 in March below the 50 level that indicates stable levels of activity – was the lowest seen in 12 months.

Markit economist Annabel Fiddes had this to say on the disappointing April result:

“China’s manufacturing sector had a weak start to Q2, with total new business declining at the quickest rate in a year while production stagnated. Fewer new orders appeared to stem from weaker domestic demand, as new business from abroad showed tentative signs of improvement. Nonetheless, further job cuts and reduced purchasing activity suggest that the sector may struggle to expand in the near-term.

Furthermore, the PMI data indicate that more stimulus measures may be required to ensure the economy doesn’t slow from the 7% annual growth rate seen in Q1.”

Coming on the back of the NBS’ manufacturing PMI report last Friday it’s clear that China’s manufacturing sector started the second quarter the same way it ended the first – weak.

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