BEIJING, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector stood at 35.7 in February, down from 50 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Saturday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
The sharp decline resulted from the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, said NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
In breakdown, all the surveyed 21 industries of the manufacturing sector stayed in the contraction zone, but the impact of the virus varied on different industries, said Zhao.
The PMI for industries, including chemical fiber and automobile, were below 30, while that for food and beverages stayed above 42, supported by the government's production and supply guarantee polices.
On a month-on-month basis, the sub-index for new orders came in at 29.3, 1.5 points higher than that for production, signaling a relatively good market demand in February, NBS data showed.
Imports and exports saw rising pressure in February, said Zhao, as the sub-indice for new export orders and imports declined to 28.7 and 31.9, respectively, affected by order cancellations and delays in delivery amid the epidemic.