Surveys show China factory activity picks up steam

HONG KONG (AP) — Surveys show that China’s factory activity picked up pace last month, adding to recent evidence that a key sector of the world’s No. 2 economy is stabilizing.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index released Wednesday by the Chinese Federation of Logistics and Purchasing rose to 51.6 in February from 51.3 the previous month.

The latest reading is a notch lower than November’s two-year high of 51.7.

It’s based on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

The separate private PMI by Caixin also showed a modest improvement as it expanded for the sixth straight month.

China’s vital manufacturing sector has been improving over the past year in an upbeat sign for the wider economy, which saw growth cool to 6.7 percent last year.