China's factory sector shrank in November in the face of weakening demand both at home and abroad, two surveys showed on Thursday, underlining the central bank's move to cut bank reserve requirements to shore up the economy.
The official and HSBC purchasing managers' indexes are likely to feed worries that the global economy is on a slippery slope as the euro zone is marred by its debt crisis, reinforcing expectations that China will ease policy further.
The official PMI released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) fell to 49 in November from October's 50.4, suggesting activity among big manufacturers shrank in November for the first time in nearly three years, or since the global financial crisis.
The reading was below the median forecast of 50 in a Reuters poll. That level demarcates expansion from contraction.
"The November PMI dropped further to below the boom-bust line of 50... indicates that the economic growth pace would continue to moderate in the future," Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Centre of the State Council, wrote in the CFLP statement.
The CFLP said the sub-index for new orders fell to 47.8 in November from 50.5 in October, while the sub-index for new export orders dipped to 45.6 in November from October's 48.6