China's official manufacturing PMI fell to 50.6 from 51.3 in January. This is evidenced by data published on Sunday by the State Statistical Office of the PRC (CSO).
The PMI index reflects the level of business activity of enterprises. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion of the manufacturing sector, below 50 indicates a contraction.
Chinese factories are usually closed during the Lunar New Year holidays when workers return to their hometowns. Therefore, analysts expected the Chinese PMI to fall to 51.1.
Metallurgical plants belonging to the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), increased daily steel production in mid-February to a record level of 2.282 million tonnes per day, a 24% increase over the same period last year of the year (APPG).
China's economic growth last year was 2.3%. The government may avoid setting growth targets this year amid fears that provincial economies will be forced to make additional financial commitments.
China will strengthen political support for foreign trade and keep supply chains running smoothly, its new minister of commerce said earlier this week.
In China's services sector, activity increased for the 11th straight month, but at a slower pace. In China's non-manufacturing sector, PMI fell to 51.4 in February from 52.4 in January this year.