China's manufacturing activity slid further in August, with the purchasing managers index (PMI) standing at 49.2%, the lowest pace in nine months, Xinhua news agency reported. The PMI reading in August retreated 0.9% points from July, according to data released on Saturday by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). It marked the first time the index has fallen below 50 percent since December. "The PMI continued to dip in August to a point below 50 percent, which shows the manufacturing sector is contracting," said Zhang Liqun, an analyst with the State Council's Development Research Center. A reading of 50% demarcates expansion from contraction. The PMI has kept above the contraction level since December, when the reading was 50.3%. From January to July, the index stood at 50.5, 51, 53.1, 53.3, 50.4, 50.2 and 50.1.