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China Manufacturing Index Unexpectedly Drops

A Chinese manufacturing index unexpectedly fell to a three-month low as output gains eased and employment weakened, suggesting the world’s second-largest economy is vulnerable to a slowdown.

The preliminary reading of 50.5 for a Purchasing Managers’ Index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics compares with a final figure of 50.8 in November and the 50.9 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 analysts. A number above 50 indicates expansion.