A flash estimate of China's Purchasing Managers' Index, which shows expansion with numbers above 50, measured 50.4 in February, down from January's reading of 52.3, Markit Economics reported Monday.
In its most recent peak, the index stood at 58 in March 2012.
Separate indexes for new orders, production output, number of employees and quantity of purchases all showed gains, but at a slower rate than January, Markit said.
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