South Korea May manufacturing activity falls to 9-month low

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's manufacturing activity fell to a nine-month low in May as new export orders shrank, a private-sector survey showed on Monday, adding to signs of a softening recovery in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The HSBC/Markit purchasing managers' index (PMI) of South Korea's manufacturing sector slid to a seasonally adjusted 49.5 in May from 50.2 in April, Markit Economics said in a statement. The May reading was the lowest since 47.5 in August 2013.

A reading below 50 means activity shrank during the month. The index was just above 50 in March and April.

A sub-index for new export orders that South Korean companies received during the month fell to 49.4 in May from 49.9 in April. The May reading was its lowest since September 2013.

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