A Chinese government survey shows manufacturing grew at a slightly slower pace in December than the previous month following government controls on bank lending.
The National Bureau of Statistics reported Sunday that the country's manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 51.6 from 51.8 in November.
The index is based on a 100-point index on which the 50 mark divides expansion from contraction.
The report finds production and new orders were only slightly lower than in November but at 54 and 53.4 showed steady growth.
The PMI is a widely watched indicator of essential parts of China's economy, which expanded at a still-robust 6.8 percent annual pace in the third quarter.
Economists forecast activity will weaken as Beijing tightens up on bank lending to curb rising debt, reports AP.