In April, China's manufacturing activity expanded to its highest level for a year, according to data released on May 1, in an indication that the nation's economy might be showing signs of recovery.
The official Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, for the manufacturing sector rose to 53.5 in April, up from 52.4 in March, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said.
A reading above 50 means the manufacturing sector is expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates an overall decline.
This was the highest level since April last year, when the official PMI reached 59.2.
It sank to a record low of 38.8 in November due to the global financial crisis, but has improved continuously in the five months since, although it only moved above 50 in March.
This "sends a clear signal that real economic activity growth has been improving on a sequential basis from its trough last November," Goldman Sachs said.
Manufacturing accounts for more than 40% of the economy in China, which has been hit hard by evaporating demand for its products in key export markets such as the U.S. and Europe.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009