Chinese manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in six months in January as HSBC PMI fell to 49.5 (flash 49.6) from 50.5 in December.
The growth of output eased to a marginal pace and jobs were cut at the fastest rate since March 2009, HSBC says, while there were "marked falls in input costs and output charges."
"A soft start to China's manufacturing sectors in 2014, partly due to weaker new export orders and slower domestic business activities," HSBC says.
The Shanghai Composite is -0.7%. (PR)