China manufacturing begins to rebound as COVID-19 restrictions ease

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Manufacturing in China started to improve in May after the country lifted coronavirus lockdowns that shut down China's richest and most populous city of Shanghai, as well as other industrial areas, according to an official survey released Tuesday.

The Purchasing Managers' Index of the National Bureau of Statistics of China's manufacturing industry jumped from 47.4% in April to 49.6% this month on a 100-point scale. Numbers below 50 reveal activity contracting.

FILE – A worker operates a machine for knitting socks in a factory in Funan county in central China’s Anhui province, on March 1, 2022. Chinese manufacturing activity started to rebound in May after the government eased anti-virus restrictions that s (AP Newsroom)

New orders, exports and employment all improved during the month of May.

More businesses in Shanghai are allowed to reopen this week after COVID-19 outbreaks were considered by the government as under control.

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China immigration inspection officers in protective overalls march near a container ship at a port in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. China’s exports remained strong in October, a positive sign for an economy trying (Chinatopix via AP / AP Images)

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Other industrial centers like Shenzhen and Changchun were also forced to shut down this spring due to the coronavirus, which disrupted the cities' manufacturing and trade.

Tuesday's data shows that "activity has started to rebound as containment measures were rolled back," Capital Economics' Sheana Yue said in a report, adding that the recovery "is likely to remain tepid amid weak external demand and labor market strains."

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is zeroing in on the ties that China’s state banks and other financial stalwarts have developed with big private-sector players, expanding his push to curb capitalist forces in the economy. ((AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) / AP Newsroom)

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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