By Daniel Hunter

Fears of economic slowdown in China have been eased by a preliminary survey by HSBC that shows the country's manufacturing activity bounced back in August.

According to HSBC's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a key gauge of the sector's health, rose to 50.1 from 47.7 in July.

A reading above 50 shows expansion. For the first time in four months, the HSBC reading has passed that point.

China has taken various steps in recent weeks to boost its economic growth - which has slowed for two quarters.

Hongbin Qu, chief China economist at HSBC, said that the rebound in sector was in part due to those measures.

"This is mainly driven by the initial filtering-through of recent fine-tuning measures and companies' restocking activities, despite the continuous external weakness," he said.

The data comes amid fears that China's growth rate - which has declined for two straight quarters - may slow further.

The world's second-biggest economy grew at an annualised rate of 7.5% in the April to June quarter, down from 7.7% in the previous three months.

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