An official gauge of China's manufacturing activity rebounded strongly in March as factory production resumed after the coronavirus epidemic was largely put under control in the country.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 52.0 in March from a record low of 35.7 in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. The 50 mark separates expansion of activity from contraction.
The March result came in above the median forecast of 51.5 by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. Purchasing by manufacturers is a leading indicator of business activity because factories buy supplies in anticipation of demand.
The statistics bureau said the reading only reflects work resumption from February and it doesn't mean China's economic activity has returned to normal.
The production subindex climbed to 54.1 from 27.8 in February. The new-export-orders subindex, a gauge of external demand, rose to 46.4 in March from 28.7 in February. The subindex measuring imports increased to 48.4 from February's 31.9.