China / Society

China's rail freight decline narrows

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-26 17:17
BEIJING - The pace of decline in China's national rail freight volume, an indicator of economic activity, narrowed in April as the economy showed signs of stabilization, official data showed on Thursday.

Railways carried 260 million tonnes of cargo last month, down 4.5 percent year on year, the mildest decline since the beginning of 2015, Ministry of Transport spokesperson Liu Pengfei told a press conference in Beijing.

Rail freight volume for the first four months of 2016 fell 7.9 percent year on year, compared with a 9-percent drop in the first quarter, Liu said.

China posted its weakest economic growth since the global financial crisis in the first quarter, weighed down by weak demand both at home and abroad, industrial overcapacity and faltering investment.

Although downward pressure persisted, economic indicators suggested some stabilization. The purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector, a gauge of factory activity, was 50.1 in April, above the crucial 50-mark separating expansion from contraction for a second consecutive month.

In April, the total volume of freight carried by China's railways, highways and waterways rose 3.4 percent year on year to 3.6 billion tonnes, a faster growth than the 2.1-percent level in the first quarter, according to Liu.

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