China factory activity held steady in May, index shows

The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index (PMI) fell to 49.6 in May, lower than a 50.1 forecast by analysts polled by Reuters and lower than April's 50.3.

The rate of decline in new orders, including from overseas, was the lowest seen so far this year, leading manufacturers to slightly reduce output. The positive figure means the bloc's economy is enjoying a stable and broad-based recovery, which will be welcomed by policymakers at the European Central Bank.

In Germany, the final manufacturing PMI rose more-than-expected to a level of 59.50 in May, compared to a level of 58.20 in April.

Friday's report showed housebuilding rising at the fastest rate since December 2015, while commercial construction, such as shops and offices, rose by the most since March past year.

The Indian manufacturing sector, however, stayed in expansion mode for the fifth consecutive month in May.

Like the government's manufacturing gauge, its non-manufacturing PMI - including other parts of the Chinese economy including the construction sectors - also impressed, rising to 54.5 from 54.0 in April.

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The 50-mark separates contraction from expansion on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, charge inflation softened in line with cooler cost inflationary pressures.

Activity in the United Kingdom construction sector expanded at its fastest rate in 17 months in May, boosted by a surprise rebound in homebuilding, a survey says.

This item was corrected on May 30, 2017 at 0130 GMT to reflect that the new-order subindex of China's official manufacturing PMI stood at 52.3 in May, not April.

Optimism surrounding production trends for 12 months ahead strengthened to the highest level for 20 months and this confidence was reflected in a further boost in job creation with the strongest gain in employment since June 2014.

Both domestic demand and exports were solidly increasing over the month, with a weaker sterling encouraging overseas buyers to snap up goods Made in Britain.


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