China’s economic recovery slowed in February as factories shut during the Lunar New Year holidays and virus restrictions dampened what’s usually a busy travel season.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to a nine-month low of 50.6 from 51.3 in January as export orders plunged, the National Bureau of Statistics said Sunday. The non-manufacturing gauge, which reflects activity in the construction and services sectors, declined to 51.4, versus a median estimate of 52. The composite index dropped to 51.6 in February, the lowest since the virus lockdown a year ago.
Manufacturing activity is usually distorted by the week-long Lunar New Year holidays -- which fell in February this year -- when factories and businesses close and many people travel back to their hometowns for family gatherings.
This year, however, virus restrictions to contain outbreaks in some parts of the country prompted workers to cut back on travel and spend instead at shops, restaurants and cinemas close to their job locations.
The statistics bureau said holiday closures were the main reason for the slump in manufacturing, while retailing, catering and entertainment remained relatively active.
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