China's non-manufacturing sector shrank in February, an official monthly survey showed Sunday.
The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of the non-manufacturing sector declined to 54.5 percent in February, down 1.7 percentage points from January, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said in an online statement.
The figure marked the first decline since last October, said CFLP.
A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates expansion from the previous month, while a reading below 50 percent indicates contraction.
The sub-index of intermediate input prices bore the biggest lose of 2 percentage points to 56.2 percent in February.
Bucking the trend as five industries reaching beyond 60 percent in January, none hit 60 percent in February while water transportation even dropped to below 50 percent. Only construction and services ranged between 50 percent and 60 percent during the month.
Cai Jin, vice chairman of the CFLP, said that the decline was mainly caused by the slackness of construction during the period. But consumption during the Spring Festival holiday, an occasion for family reunions, had helped the index to maintain at comparatively high level of 54.5 percent.
Especially, the holiday stimulated the transportation and retails sectors, Cai said.
The sub-index for new orders retreated 1.9 percentage points from a month earlier to 51.8 percent, while the new export orders also lost 1 percentage point to 51.6 percent.
Other sub-indices, such as employment and business outlook increased from a month earlier.
The figures followed Friday's release of the manufacturing sector PMI at 50.1 percent, a sign of steady growth trend in China's economy.
The CFLP's non-manufacturing PMI is based on a survey of about 1,200 companies in 27 industries, including transportation, real estate, catering and software development.