China's monthly index of manufacturing activity slowed marginally but remained positive in January, state media said Friday according to dpa.
The purchasing managers index fell to 50.4 per cent, down from 50.6 per cent in December, the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing reported.
The 50-per-cent mark denotes the divide between expansion and contraction.
The index has remained above 50 per cent since October, which the government said was a sign that it had arrested a slowdown in growth in the world's second-largest economy.
The slight fall in January suggested growth would remain on a "steady trend in the near future," the official Xinhua news agency quoted government economist Zhang Liqun as saying.
China's annual economic growth fell to 7.8 per cent last year, the slowest since 1999, down from 9.3 per cent in 2011 as China dealt with slowing demand for its exports amid the eurozone debt crisis and uncertainty over the US economic recovery as well as growing production costs, including rising wages