China's manufacturing sector expanded at a slower pace in September, official data showed Sunday.
The country's manufacturing purchasing managers' index came in at 50.8 in September, narrowing from 51.3 in August, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 reflects contraction.
"Production continued to expand while market demand remained generally stable," said NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
Sub-index for production edged down from 53.3 in August to 53 in September, while the sub-index for new orders dipped from 52.2 in August to 52 in September.
The decline in the headline PMI was partially driven by the unfavorable working day effect as the Mid-autumn Festival shifted to September this year from October last year, but it also indicated strong headwinds on the manufacturing sector, said a report from China International Capital Corporation (CICC).
Well aware of the challenges, authorities have pledged coordinated efforts and policies to stabilize employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, investment and expectations, with measures such as tax cuts and cheaper financing to support the real economy.
Continued efforts should be made to formulate policies that promote high-quality development in important areas including manufacturing, high-tech industries, public services and infrastructure, and to put protecting the people's interests at a more prominent position, said a statement released after the fourth meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform.
Sunday's data also showed that China's non-manufacturing sector expanded at a faster pace, with the PMI for the sector standing at 54.9 in September, up from 54.2 in August.
The service sector, which accounts for more than half of the country's GDP, maintained stable growth, with the sub-index measuring business activity in the industry standing at 53.4 in September, flat with August.
Rapid expansion was seen in industries including air transport, retail and telecommunications, the NBS said.