Although growth in production softened from that seen in January, total new work expanded at a slightly faster pace.
Adjusted for seasonal factors, including the Chinese New Year, the headline Purchasing Managers' Index - a composite indicator designed to provide a single-figure snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing economy - edged up to 51.6 in February, from 51.5 in January, to signal a further improvement in the health of the sector. Though only modest, the latest reading signalled the strongest improvement in operating conditions for six months.
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