By  on January 23, 2014

BEIJING — A key indicator of China's manufacturing output fell unexpectedly in January to a six-month low, fueling further concern over the country's potential as a continued growth leader this year.

According to a release on Thursday, the flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 49.6 in January down nearly a point from the December's final reading of 50.5. An index reading below 50 indicates factory production is contracting rather than expanding, a worrying note to those hoping China's economic health was firmly in hand.

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