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Chinese manufacturing slackens

– China’s manufacturing growth decelerated this month, according to results of a survey, adding to questions about the strength of the recovery in the world’s second largest economy.

HSBC Corp. said last week the preliminary version of its monthly purchasing managers index declined to 50.5 from March’s 51.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 represent an expansion.

China reported an unexpected decline in economic growth to 7.7 percent in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter’s 7.9 percent. Private-sector economists and the World Bank have reduced their outlook for annual growth, though to a still-robust level of about 8 percent.

This month, the HSBC survey showed output growth slowed while new export orders and employment contracted.

“Beijing is expected to respond strongly to sustain the economic recovery by increasing efforts to boost domestic investment and consumption in the coming month,” said HSBC economist Hongbin Qu in a statement.

The bank’s preliminary PMI is based on responses from 85 to 90 percent of the 420 manufacturers surveyed.

Analysts have warned China’s recovery still is being supported by government-led investment and lending, while consumer spending is sluggish.

A slowdown in Chinese growth and demand for goods ranging from iron ore and other raw materials to factory technology and consumer products could send out ripples in the global economy.