The Purchasing Managers' Index for April dropped to 50.6 percent from 50.9 percent in March, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. Any figure above 50 percent on the index indicates expansion, while below that indicates contraction.
Although the April figure was the seventh consecutive month the PMI stayed above 50 percent, the federation said the decline from March showed slower growth in the manufacturing sector and the need for stronger momentum in China's economic growth.
Zhang Liqun, an analyst in the Chinese government Cabinet, said the April PMI showed the foundation for China's economic recovery is not solid enough, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The foundation said orders received by manufacturers dropped in April, as the sub-index for new orders edged down 0.6 percentage points from the previous month to 51.7 percent. A sub-index for purchasing prices of raw materials tumbled 10.5 percentage points to 40.1 percent, the first reading below 50 in seven months.
The PMI in February was 50.1 percent and 50.5 percent for the first quarter.