The official gauge of China's manufacturing activity has shown an unexpected contraction, dashing hopes of a continued expansion. After briefly entering expansion territory in September, the sector has once again displayed signs of weakness.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in October, down from 50.2 in September. An index reading above 50 signifies an expansion, while a reading below indicates contraction.

This latest result falls short of the forecasted 50.2, as predicted by a Wall Street Journal poll of economists.

In terms of production, the subindex dropped from 52.7 in September to 50.9 in October. Likewise, the index for total new orders witnessed a decline from 50.5 in September to 49.5 in October. New export orders also experienced a slump, decreasing to 46.8 from 47.8 in September.

Meanwhile, China's nonmanufacturing PMI, which encompasses both service and construction sectors, also displayed a downward trend. The nonmanufacturing PMI fell to 50.6 in October, compared to 51.7 in September, according to the statistics bureau.

The subindex that tracks service activity declined from 50.9 in September to 50.1 in October, while the construction subindex dropped from 56.2 in September to 53.5 in October.

It is evident that China's manufacturing sector faces fresh challenges and uncertainties that need to be addressed in order to restore growth and stability.

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