A gauge of China's factory activity weakened sharply, suggesting that any turnaround in the world's second-largest economy after months of slower growth has yet to take root.
The fall-off in manufacturing activity in April follows a strong showing in March that, along with an uptick in home sales, buoyed growth in the first quarter and brightened the outlook for the Chinese economy. Many economists expected a slight easing of factory activity in April.
Instead, the official manufacturing purchasing managers index slid to 50.1 in April from the six-month high of 50.5 in March, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Tuesday.
A separate index released by a private firm showed a similar decline, and measures for production and new orders both softened.