The long, slow decline in China's manufacturing engine isn't turning around.
On Thursday, new numbers showed that factory production in China decreased last month, for the first time in nearly three years. The Purchasing Managers' Index fell by 1.4 percent to below 50 in November from October, marking a rare decline and dip below 50 that indicates the industry is shrinking rather than growing. The last decrease in the index was in February of 2009, when China and the rest of the world were slumping because of the global economic crisis.
Factory bosses in China have complained for months that higher labor costs and tighter credit have cut into their business, compounding the ongoing problem of lost customers and fewer orders. Though the new numbers are troubling to businesses and economists, the decline is likely to continue. To combat the credit crunch, the central bank on Wednesday raised the reserve ratio required for banks for the first time in several years.