China's manufacturing sector expanded for the second straight month in December, official survey data showed on Tuesday.
The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index held steady at 50.2 in December, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The score was forecast to fall to 50.0.
A score above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction in the sector. The factory PMI has stayed above 50 for the second consecutive month.
Suggesting acceleration in manufacturing output, the production sub-index gained 0.6 points to 53.2 in December. Meanwhile, the new order index dropped 0.1 point to 51.2. Nonetheless, the score stayed above 50.
The export order indicator expanded for the first time since mid-2018. The index came in at 50.3 compared to 48.8 a month ago. At 49.9, the index for imports remained below 50.
The employment indicator remained unchanged at 47.3 and the supplier delivery time index advanced 0.6 points to 51.1.
China's private PMI survey data is due on January 2. Economists forecast the factory PMI to remain stable at 51.8 in December.
The official non-manufacturing PMI dropped to 53.5 from 54.4 in the previous month, data showed today. This was also below the forecast of 54.2.
Likewise, the composite output index came in at 53.4 in December, down from 53.7 in November.