BEIJING: China's factory activity picked up pace in June, official data showed Tuesday, although analysts warned weak global demand and a potential coronavirus resurgence are weighing on its longer-term recovery.
The world's second-largest economy has been whirring back to life after the virus and sweeping lockdowns prompted a near-halt in activity at the start of the year. But economists caution that momentum may weaken in the second half of 2020 as key markets struggle to recover from the crisis and as orders for medical supplies abroad - which have boosted exports - peak and fall.
China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a key gauge of activity in factories, came in at 50.9 points in June, better than the 50.5 forecast in a Bloomberg News poll of analysts and up 0.3 points from May.
Anything above 50 is considered to show expansion.
The non-manufacturing PMI came in at 54.4 points from 53.6, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The readings will be welcomed as the economy slowly emerges from the disease, having shrunk in the first quarter for the first time in decades.
NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe noted that the surprise uptick came as "supply and demand continued to pick up" in June, while imports and exports are also looking better as major global markets restart their economies.
But he warned there were still "uncertainties", with the import and export indexes below the 50-mark and a larger number of small enterprises reporting a lack of orders.