Survey: China manufacturing weakens in July

BEIJING — China's manufacturing decelerated in July as exports and domestic demand weakened, a survey showed Tuesday, adding to challenges for Beijing amid rising trade tension with Washington.

The China Federal of Logistics & Purchasing said its monthly purchasing managers' index declined to 51.2 from June's 51.5 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding.

Measures for output and new orders declined while the export index was unchanged at 49.8 on the same 50-point scale.

Forecasters have expected Chinese industrial activity to weaken since regulators started tightening controls on bank lending last year to rein in surging debt.

Beijing's trade dispute with Washington has added to concern about the impact on manufacturing.

The Trump administration raised import duties July 6 on $34 billion of Chinese goods in a dispute over technology policy. Beijing retaliated by hiking its own tariffs on the same amount of U.S. imports.

Exports have shrunk as a share of China's economy and contribute less than 1 percent of annual economic growth but still support millions of manufacturing jobs.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts this year's Chinese economic growth to decline from last year's 6.9 percent to a still-robust 6.6 percent. Longer-term, the IMF expects growth to decline to 5.5 percent by 2023.

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