BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese manufacturing grew weakly in April, suggesting a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy is stabilizing, an industry group said Thursday.
The state-sanctioned China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its monthly purchasing managers index stood at 50.4 points on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding. That was up marginally from March's 50.3 points.
"The April PMI continued to rise slightly, indicating future economic growth will tend to be stable," said Zhang Liqun, an economist for the Chinese state statistics bureau, in a statement issued by the federation.
A separate survey earlier by HSBC Corp. showed April manufacturing activity shrank for a fourth straight month.
China's economic growth slowed to 7.4 percent over a year earlier in the first quarter. Trade and manufacturing have been weak, fueling concern about a possible rise in politically volatile job losses.
Chinese leaders are trying to steer the economy to more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment. But they have launched several mini-stimulus efforts when it appeared to be cooling too sharply.
The PMI came in just under forecasts of 50.5.
"It shows that China's economy is continuing to grow, however analysts have been over-optimistic in predicting its growth," said Chay Flack of CMC Markets in a report.
China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (in Chinese): www.chinawuliu.com.cn