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Survey: China's factory, export activity gain in September

FILE - In this May 13, 2020, file photo, a worker at SMC China, a Japanese joint venture pneumatic engineering company, assembles products at a factory in Beijing. Chinas factory activity accelerated in September, adding to a gradual recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a government survey showed Wednesday, Sept. 30. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
FILE - In this May 13, 2020, file photo, a worker at SMC China, a Japanese joint venture pneumatic engineering company, assembles products at a factory in Beijing. Chinas factory activity accelerated in September, adding to a gradual recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a government survey showed Wednesday, Sept. 30. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BEIJING – China’s factory activity accelerated in September, adding to a gradual recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a government survey showed Wednesday.

A monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group rose to 51.5 from August’s 51 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing.

A measure of new export orders rose to 50.8 from the previous month’s 49.1, its first time in positive territory since the pandemic began, according to the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing.

China, where the outbreak began in December, was the first economy to shut down and the first to reopen factories and other businesses in March.

Domestic consumer spending is recovering but more slowly than production.

Exporters have been taking market share from foreign competitors that are hampered by anti-disease controls. But forecasters say that growth is likely to weaken as global demand for Chinese-made masks and other medical supplies levels off.

A measure of employment stood at 49.6, indicating industry still was cutting jobs. But it was an improvement of 0.2 point from August.