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July survey data signalled a renewed upturn in operating conditions faced by Chinese manufacturers, with output, new orders and buying activity all returning to growth. However, employment continued to decline and at a solid pace, which in turn contributed to the quickest rise in outstanding business since March 2011. Meanwhile, increased prices for raw materials led to a marked rise in average input costs, which companies generally passed on to clients in the form of higher output charges. At 50.6 in July, the seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers' Index™ (PMI™) - a composite indicator designed to provide a single-figure snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing economy - rose from 48.6 in June to signal a renewed improvement in operating conditions. Though only slight, it was the first strengthening in the health of the sector since February 2015.
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