A government survey shows China's manufacturing activity weakened in May, ending five straight months of expansion, in a slowdown that has prompted authorities to step up stimulus measures.
The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing says its purchasing managers index, or PMI, fell 2.9 percentage points to 50.4 in April, just above the 50 level that signifies expansion. The index was at 53.3 in April and 53.1 in March.
The European debt crisis is pinching China's export manufacturers, while moves to control property prices have chilled spending on building.
The slowdown was most apparent in the vehicle, furniture and equipment industries.