By Daniel Hunter

The manufacturing industry in China contracted for a second consecutive month in January, early figures suggest.

The HSBC/Markit flash purchasing managers' index (PMI) was at just 49.8 for January so far, after a figure of 49.6 in December.

Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

The survey showed that firms had cut prices to improve sales which impacted on profit margins.

Earlier this week, separate figures showed that overall economic growth in China had slowed to a 24 year low.

"Today's data suggest that the manufacturing slowdown is still ongoing amidst weak domestic demand," Qu Hongbin, a HSBC economist told Reuters.

"More monetary and fiscal easing measures will be needed to support growth in the coming months."

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