HONG KONG (AP) -- Chinese manufacturing grew a bit slower in December than the previous month, according to a survey released Monday, in a new sign of the shaky recovery in the world's second-biggest economy.
The preliminary version of HSBC's purchasing managers' index released Monday slipped to 50.5 from 50.8 in November.
The index uses a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate a contraction.
China's economic growth fell to a two-decade low of 7.5 percent in the three months ending in June before rebounding by 7.8 percent in the latest quarter.
While the survey found that growth slowed marginally from November, "it still stands above the average reading for the third quarter, implying that the recovering trend of the manufacturing sector starting from July still holds up," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said, adding that he expected China's economic growth to stabilize at about 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter.
New orders grew at a faster rate compared with the month before though employment fell and production growth slowed, the survey said.
The survey is based on 85-90 percent of responses from 420 manufacturing companies in mainland China. The full version of the survey will be released on Jan. 2.