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In China, manufacturing slowed in March raising expectations of a government stimulus to reenergise the world’s second largest economy.
The slight contraction concerned smaller companies in China’s private sector, a new HSBC PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) report said.
Last month, official Chinese data also showed a modest slowdown.
Despite the country’s exports dropping by nearly 20 percent in February from a year earlier – once again – Beijing has set a growth rate of 7.5 percent for 2014.