BEIJING • China's manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace since 2012 last month as factories cranked up output to take advantage of strong demand and high prices.
Production, total new orders and output prices all improved to the highest level in at least a year, while a pick-up in a reading for the construction sector indicated a building boom is undiminished.
The official Purchasing Managers' Index released yesterday rose to 52.4 last month, from 51.7 in August and well above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
It marked the 14th straight month of expansion for China's massive manufacturing industry and the highest reading since April 2012.
Input prices continued to rise at a solid clip, with the reading at 68.4 compared with 65.3 in August, benefiting upstream producers such as miners, smelters and oil refiners.
The data comes ahead of the Communist Party congress in the middle of this month, a once-every-five-years meeting where new leaders are appointed, and the government's key political and economic initiatives are laid out.