Manufacturing activity in China expanded at its fastest pace in almost a year, official data shows, indicating conditions in the world's second-biggest economy are continuing to improve.
The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) hit 50.9 points in March, the highest since April 2012 when the figure stood at 53.3, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.
The PMI is a widely watched barometer of the health of the Chinese economy, with a reading above 50 indicating expansion while anything below points to contraction.
The March reading improved from 50.1 in February and signalled the sixth consecutive month of expanding manufacturing activity.
The rebound in PMI was led by increasing new orders as demand improved, driven by exports and investment, analysts said.
HSBC - whose survey focuses more on smaller enterprises - said its PMI for March stood at 51.6, up from 50.4 in February, its lowest reading since October.
"China's recovery continues, mainly driven by the gradually improving domestic demand conditions," said Qu Hongbin, a Hong Kong-based economist with the bank.