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Gulf Today Report
The Lunar New Year holiday slowed down business operations in China making factory activities move at the slowest pace in nine months, according to official data.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a key gauge of manufacturing activity, fell to 50.6 last month from 51.3, said the National Bureau of Statistics.
Slow activities were recorded in production, new orders and foreign trade.
"Lunar New Year fell in mid-February this year, and the holiday factor showed a greater impact on the production and operations of enterprises this month," said NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
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However, that has not affected market expectations with the purchase price index of major raw materials still high.
Official figures also showed that even as smaller firms were more affected by seasonal factors, expectations for sectors such as specialised equipment, automobiles and some electronics remain in a higher range -- with some surveyed firms indicating March will be a "peak season" for them.
Additionally, the non-manufacturing PMI was 51.4 this month declining from 52.4 in January.
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