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Global Manufacturing Numbers for August

China's official PMI rises in August (by Michael Kitchen)

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- The official version of China's purchasing managers' index rose to 50.9 in August, up from July's 50.7, according to data released Thursday from the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing. The result was just below expectations for a 51 reading, according to a Reuters survey. The index, marking its first rise since March, remained just above the 50-point level which divides expansion from contraction. Meanwhile, the input price sub-index also rose, hitting 57.2, up from 56.3 in August. The input prices are closely watched, given China's recent struggle with inflation. A privately compiled version of the PMI was due out later in the day from HSBC.

HSBC China manufacturing gauge indicates pickup (by Chris Oliver)

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- HSBC China manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 49.9 in August, up from July's 49.3, and slightly higher than a preliminary "flash" reading of 49.8 issued in August. The reading sat just around the threshold of 50 that divides contraction from expansion, though HSBC labeled the drop "negligible." In comments attached to the PMI release, HSBC economist Hongbin Qu said that employment conditions and output had rebounded above 50 to indicate expansionary conditions. "These data confirm our view that China will only see growth moderation in the coming months, rather than a hard landing," said Qu.

British manufacturing PMI falls to 26-month low (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Manufacturing activity in Britain contracted in August, sending the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers index for the sector to a 26-month low of 49.0 from a revised reading of 49.4 in July, data showed Thursday. A reading of less than 50 signals a contraction in activity, while a reading of more than 50 signals expansion. Economists had forecast an August reading of 48.5. "Falling output signals a U.K. manufacturing sector in reverse-drive; much different to the dynamism of the early half of the year," said David Noble, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

Euro-zone manufacturing PMI drops to two-year low (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Manufacturing activity in the 17-nation euro zone contracted more than initially thought in August, sending the purchasing managers index for the sector to a two-year low, according to data released Thursday. The final August Markit purchasing managers index for manufacturing dropped to 49.0 from 50.4 in July, and came in below a preliminary estimate of 49.7. National PMI readings in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria remained above the no-change 50.0 level, while data signaled contractions for Ireland, France, Italy, Spain and Greece. "With GDP having risen just 0.2% in the second quarter, there is a growing risk that the euro zone could slide back into recession in the second half of the year," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

ISM manufacturing index at lowest since July 2009 (by Steve Goldstein)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Manufacturing activity grew in August, but at the slowest rate since July 2009, according to the closely followed Institute for Supply Management's index of purchasing managers. The index slipped 0.3 points to 50.6%, as new orders and production fell. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a reading of 48.8% for August. Activity has expanded, or been above 50%, for 27 straight months.