Manufacturing activity in China fell to a six-month low as lockdowns continued in the country's financial hub Shanghai and in other manufacturing centres to control coronavirus outbreaks under China's "zero Covid" strategy, as per a survey released on Saturday.
The monthly purchasing managers' index, released by China's National Bureau of Statistics, fell to 47.4 in April from 49.5 in March on a 100-point scale. Numbers below 50 show economic contraction.
The bureau's statistician Zhao Qinghe said domestic coronavirus outbreaks have impacted China's factory activities and market demand.
Some enterprises have reduced or stopped production, with disruptions in logistics as well as the supply of raw materials and components.
Shanghai, China's most populous city, spent weeks in April under lockdown. The capital, Beijing, began mass testing millions of residents this week.
In the northeast, authorities in Changchun and Jilin also spent most of April in lockdown, forcing automakers and other factories to shut down. Other smaller Chinese cities have also faced citywide or district lockdowns.
According to the statistics bureau, non-manufacturing business activity also fell 6.5 percentage points to 41.9.
Service industry activity fell to 40, down from 46.7 the previous month, as activity in sectors such as air transport, accommodation and catering took a hit during the outbreaks, the bureau said.
However, the construction industry continued to expand, especially the civil engineering construction sector. It is expected that progress in the construction industry will play a role in supporting economic recovery, according to Zhao.
(With AP inputs)