China's manufacturing activity slightly grew in April, preliminary results of a business survey by Markit Economics and HSBC Ltd. showed Wednesday.
The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity of the world's second-biggest economy, rose to 48.3 on a 100-point scale.
The index was below the key 50 percent line for the fourth month in a row, but edged up from March's final reading of 48.0. The reading in March was the lowest since last July.
A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates growth from the previous month, while a reading below 50 represents contraction in China's manufacturing sector. The index is a closely watched barometer of the health of the Chinese economy.
The report comes after China said last week its economy expanded 7.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, down from the previous quarter's 7.7 percent growth.
"Domestic demand showed mild improvement and deflationary pressures eased, but downside risks to growth are still evident as both new export orders and employment contracted," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement accompanying the data.
Chinese leaders have "we think more (stimulus) measures may be unveiled in the coming months," said Qu, adding that Chinese leaders have "signaled readiness to do more if necessary