China’s manufacturing weakens in June amid trade tensions

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Beijing (AP) – China’s manufacturing activity decelerated in June as U.S.-Chinese trade tensions added to concern the economy is cooling due to tighter government controls on lending, a survey showed Saturday.

The National Statistics Bureau’s purchasing managers’ index declined to 51.5 from May’s 51.9 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show an acceleration.

China faces the threat of U.S. tariff hikes in a dispute over trade and technology but economic indicators already are turning down after Beijing tightened lending controls to rein in a rise in debt.

Exports have shrunk as a share of China’s economy and contribute less than 1 percent of annual growth but still support millions of manufacturing jobs.

Indicators of exports, new orders and manufacturing all weakened in June, the NBS survey showed. It is conducted in partnership with an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts this year’s Chinese economic growth to decline from last year’s 6.9 percent to a still-robust 6.6 percent. Longer-term, the IMF expects growth to decline to 5.5 percent by 2023.