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Caixin China's manufacturing PMI for July eased one point on month to 50.3, the lowest level since May 2020 as demand contracted for the first time in more than a year, the financial publisher said on Monday.

The lower PMI was due to weaker production and contracted demand, even though it was the 15th straight month above the breakeven 50.0 level that separates expansion from contraction.

Still, the production and new order sub-index recorded their lowest levels in 16 and 15 months, respectively. Some manufacturers interviewed said customer demand was relatively weak and the increase in ex-factory prices of products dampened sales, according to Caixin. While the overall external demand remained stable, with the new export order sub-index slightly higher than 50.0.

Caixin's PMI tracks small and medium-sized manufacturers, while the official PMI covering large state-owned companies and released on Saturday also fell to 50.4 in July from June.