BEIJING, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector stood at 53.9 percent in May, down 1.8 percentage points from last month, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Tuesday.
It was the 15th straight month that the index was above 50 percent.
The PMI includes a package of indices to measure manufacturing sector performance. A reading above 50 percent indicates economic expansion, while that below 50 percent indicates contraction.
The figure stood at 56.6 percent in December 2009, the highest since May 2008, according to the CFLP.
The new orders index declined 4.5 percentage points to 54.8 percent in May from the previous month.
The PMI purchasing prices index declined to 58.9 percent from April's 72.6 percent, the highest level since the second half of 2008.
Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the State Council's Development Research Center, said the drop in the May figure indicated that China's economy was now growing at a more stable pace.
"The significant decline in purchasing prices index also suggested less cost pressure for the manufacturers," he said.
The PMI reading was based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics, covering purchasing and supply managers in more than 700 firms across China.