China's official factory PMI at 11-month high in March

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's factory production lines ran at their fastest in 11 months in March, according to a reading of 50.9 on the official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) published on Monday, signalling economic recovery may be accelerating.

The rise missed market expectations of a rise to 52.0, as forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, but was nevertheless a pick-up from February's five-month low of 50.1.

A rise in the output index to a 10-month high of 52.7 from 51.2 in February was highlighted in the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

"The improvement in the index, which changes the downward trend of the first two months of the year, indicates that the economic outlook in general is stabilising," Zhang Liqun, an analyst at the Development Research Center, a state think-tank, said in a statement accompanying the index.

Another PMI survey - sponsored by HSBC and which tracks mainly small and medium-sized firms in the private sector as opposed to the mainly large, state-backed companies in the official survey - is scheduled to be published at 0145 GMT (9.45am Singapore time).

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