China's manufacturing activity expanded in September to a six-month high, a further sign that a rebound in the world's second-largest economy is gaining momentum on improving demand.
The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) for September hit 51.2, the highest since March when it stood at 51.6, HSBC said on Monday.
The result was higher than last month's final reading of 50.1, which had improved from an 11-month low of 47.7 in July and ended three months of contraction, according to the bank.
The index tracks manufacturing activity in China's factories and workshops and is a closely watched gauge of the health of the world's second-largest economy. A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while anything above signals expansion.
The first half of this year saw analyst concerns about China's economy mount after an expected rebound from growth of 7.7 per cent last year - the worst performance in 13 years - failed to materialise.
The September figure suggested China's ongoing growth rebound is consolidating on the back of "simultaneous improvements" in overseas and domestic demand, HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said.
"We expect a more sustained recovery as the further filtering-through of fine-tuning measures should lift domestic demand."