Chinese manufacturing steady

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Chinese manufacturing steady

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The latest official figures from China show manufacturing held steady in December.

Government surveys of factory purchasing managers revealed growth in new orders was unchanged and the pace of output softened only marginally.

But experts warn that China remains at risk, along with other Asian export driven economies, because of slowing demand in the United States and Europe, which are their biggest markets.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index was released a day after a similar survey by HSBC suggested manufacturing activity at its strongest since May 2011.

HSBC said its China PMI, which gathers more data from smaller, privately held firms with a strong export focus, showed strong output despite a retreat in a sub-index tracking new export orders.

China’s official PMI generally paints a rosier picture of the factory sector than the HSBC PMI because it focuses on big, state-owned firms.

Some analysts caution that the pickup in economic activity in recent months may reflect renewed investment spending, rather than the domestic consumer activity that policymakers acknowledge is needed to rebalance China’s economy.