The HSBC flash purchasing managers index, the earliest indicator of China's industrial activity, fell back to 48.1 from February's four-month high of 49.6. New orders sank to a four-month low, an expected rebound in export orders failed to emerge and new hiring slumped to a two-year low.
"With new export orders sluggish and domestic demand still softening, China's slow down has yet to finish. This calls for further easing to come from Beijing," HSBC chief China economist, Qu Hongbin, said in a statement.
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