Beijing - China's manufacturing activity grew in November for the first time in 13 months, HSBC said on Thursday, in a further sign of strength in the world's second-largest economy after a marked slowdown.
The preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) released by the British banking giant hit 50.4 this month, up from a final 49.5 in October, after 12 consecutive months in negative territory.
A reading above 50 indicates growth in the key sector, while one below signals contraction.
November's figure was the first time since October 2011 that the indicator showed expansion and suggested a revving up in China's economy, where growth has slowed for seven straight quarters.
"This confirms that the economic recovery continues to gain momentum towards the year end," Qu Hongbin, HSBC's chief economist for China, said in the bank's release.
"However, it is still the early stage of recovery and global economic growth remains fragile. This calls for a continuation of policy easing to strengthen the recovery."
China's economic growth hit a more than three-year low of 7.4% in the three months to September, but recent data has fuelled optimism that the worst is over.
Exports, industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment - a key gauge of infrastructure spending - have all shown improvement.
November's preliminary manufacturing data from HSBC came after China's official purchasing managers' index rose to 50.2 in October, up from 49.8 in September and the first expansion in three months.
HSBC said it would release its final November PMI data on December 3.
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