Employees make auto parts at a foreign-funded company in Anshan, Liaoning province. [Photo/Xinhua] BEIJING - The purchasing managers' index for China's manufacturing sector came in at 51.3 in January, edging down 0.6 percentage points from December, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Sunday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction. The PMI remained in expansion zone for the 11th consecutive month. The slowdown came as a series of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases temporarily affected the production and operation of enterprises, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said, adding that the period around the Spring Festival holiday is traditionally an off-season for factory activities. The Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Feb. 12 this year. It is an important occasion for family reunions. NBS data showed the sub-index for production stood at 53.5 in January, down 0.7 percentage points from December, while that for new orders dropped 1.3 percentage points to 52.3. The new export order and import sub-indexes edged down to 50.2 and 49.8, respectively. Sunday's data also showed that the PMI for China's non-manufacturing sector came in at 52.4 in January, down from 55.7 in December, which also remained above 50 for 11 consecutive months.