China factory activity remains on recovery track

China's manufacturing activity slowed slightly in December, but stayed on a growth trajectory that has seen it bounce back from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday that the Purchasing Managers Index, or PMI, was 51.9.

That's down 0.2 points from the level seen the previous month, but above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction for the tenth month in a row.

Officials say readings for output and new orders were at high levels in a wide range of sectors, including computers and communications equipment.

They add that the sub-index for new export orders also exceeded the boom-or-bust threshold of 50.

China's factory activity has been on a recovery track since the pandemic in February sent the index to its lowest level since data was first collected in 2005.

The reading for small businesses came in at 48.8, down 1.3 points from the previous month, indicating a gap in the pace of recovery between big and small companies.

Officials say they are concerned about rising costs for raw materials and logistics and the possibility that these will drag down corporate earnings.