SHANGHAI (AP) - China's manufacturing remained stagnant in September due to sluggish demand both at home and abroad, according to a survey released Friday.
The monthly survey by HSBC also showed prices for materials and other manufacturing inputs rising at the fastest pace in four months - suggesting sustained inflationary pressures.
The full survey followed a more pessimistic preliminary version published last week that prompted a sell-off in global markets as investors reacted to the possibility that China's robust growth might falter, further dimming the world economic outlook.
HSBC said its purchasing managers index for September was steady at 49.9 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. The preliminary reading was 49.4.
The index, which showed its lowest quarterly average since early 2009, suggests a "negligible rate of deterioration in manufacturing sector operating conditions," HSBC said.
Chinese industrial production has slowed following repeated interest rate hikes and other curbs as the government tries to tame growth and cool inflation that is hovering near a three-year high of over 6 percent.
The lack of change "shows some signs of stabilizing," said HSBC economist Hongbin Qu. "This implies that although the lagged effects of credit tightening will continue to cool industrial activity in the months ahead, there is little need to worry about a sharp slowdown."
The HSBC survey was released a day early due to an upcoming weeklong national holiday. A similar government-sponsored survey may be issued as usual on the first of the month.
The HSBC survey noted a negligible increase in manufacturing output and a marginal decline in new orders. New export business also fell at a negligible rate, it said.