Manufacturing growth steps down a gear

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The Chinese manufacturing sector continued to expand last month, though the pace of growth slowed following government moves to cool the economy.

The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell from 53.9 in May from 52.1 in June. The 50-point mark divides growth from contraction. Despite the slowdown, the manufacturing sector expanded for the 16th consecutive month in June, and stands well off the record low of 38.8 in November 2008.

Similar data from the UK and the US rocked stock markets as investors sold on concern about the pace of manufacturing growth last night. Here, the Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply manufacturing PMI fell from 58 in May to 57.5 last month, while on the other side of the Atlantic, the Institute for Supply Management revealed that its index of national factory activity had retreated from 59.7 in May to 56.2 in June.