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Survey shows China manufacturing contracting

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May 22, 2013 10:47 PM EST | AP

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BEIJING — A survey shows China's manufacturing contracted this month, adding to signs a fragile economic recovery is slowing.

HSBC Corp. said Thursday the preliminary version of its monthly purchasing managers index fell to a seven-month low of 49.6 from April's 50.4 on a 100-point scale. Numbers below 50 show a contraction.

HSBC economist Hongbin Qu in a statement, "The cooling manufacturing activities in May reflected slower domestic demand and ongoing external headwinds." He said that showed a possible "downside risk to China's fragile growth recovery" while signs of weakness in the labor market "call for more policy support" from the government.

China's economic growth slowed unexpectedly in the first quarter and forecasters have cut their growth outlook for the year.