Chinese factory activity increased slightly in December

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BEIJING (AP) – Chinese factory activity edged up in December as supply disruptions eased and export demand weakened, a survey found on Friday.

The monthly purchasing managers’ index published by the national statistics agency and an industrial group rose to 50.3 from 50.1 in November on a scale of 100 points on which figures above 50 show an acceleration of the activity.

Chinese manufacturing has been hampered by shortages of some components, including semiconductors, and disruptions in shipping. Some regions have ordered factories to be temporarily closed from September to meet official energy efficiency targets.

A measure of new orders improved to 49.7 from 49.4 in November, according to the China Logistics and Purchasing Federation and the National Bureau of Statistics, although demand is still weak. The index of export orders fell from 48.5 to 48.1.

“The overall recovery of the Chinese economy is clearer,” economist Zhang Liqun said in a statement released by the federation. However, he said, the country must “strengthen the overall effect of the policy of expanding domestic demand” and ensure the fluidity of industrial supplies.

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