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China manufacturing gauge at 11-month low: HSBC

Workers assemble LED lights at a factory in Zouping, eastern China's Shandong province, as seen on December 31, 2014China’s manufacturing activity contracted in March at its fastest rate in almost a year, HSBC said Tuesday, suggesting worsening conditions in the world’s second-largest economy and putting pressure on leaders to further ease monetary policy. The index, compiled by information services provider Markit, tracks activity in China’s factories and workshops and is regarded as a barometer of the health of the Asian economic giant. The sluggish reading “signalled a slight deterioration in the health of China’s manufacturing sector in March”, said Markit economist Annabel Fiddes in the statement. Liang Hong, an economist with investment bank China International Capital Corporation, noted the subindex for employment — a key consideration for macroeconomic officials — fell to its lowest level in six years.

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