Manufacturing down in China and retail figures dip in Germany
MANUFACTURING activity in China fell for the third straight month in September, due to poor demand amid turbulence in the US and Europe.
The HSBC purchasing managers' index (PMI) stood at 49.9 in September - the same as in August.
That was up from 49.3 in July, which was the first contraction in a year. A figure below 50 means activity has fallen.
The final September gauge was slightly higher than HSBC's preliminary figure of 49.4 released earlier this month, although the index still averaged its lowest quarterly reading since the first quarter of 2009, the bank said.
But the index - which stayed steady for two months - showed signs of stabilising, which could help ease fears about a "sharp slowdown" in the world's second largest economy, HSBC chief economist Qu Hongbin said.
China's economy expanded 9.5pc year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, slower than the 9.7pc in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, figures show that German retail sales fell at their fastest pace in more than four years in August.
This suggests that unease about the euro zone debt crisis prompted some consumers to delay big-ticket purchases.
Germany has been one of the industrialised world's star performers since the end of the financial crisis and its remarkable recovery has helped stimulate its trade partners.
But recent figures have shown signs for the export-geared economy.
Leading companies continue to voice optimism about their business outlook, reflected in unemployment rates that continue to fall.
But a growing number are expressing concern.
German economic growth slowed in the second quarter to just 0.1pc and economists are worried about weaker export markets and consumer reluctance to spend in the face of the debt crisis.