(The Guardian) A further slowdown in China’s vast manufacturing sector has intensified worries about the year ahead for the world’s second largest economy. The latest in a string of downbeat reports from showed that activity at China’s factor ies cooled in December for the fifth month running, as overseas demand for Chinese goods continued to fall.

Against the backdrop of a faltering global economy, turmoil in the country’s stock markets and overcapacity in factories, Chinese economic growth has slowed markedly. The country’s central bank expects growth in 2015 to be the slowest for a quarter of a century.

After growing 7.3% in 2014, the economy is thought to have expanded by 6.9% in 2015 and the central bank has forecast that it may slow further in 2016 to 6.8%. A series of interventions by policymakers, including interest rate cuts, have done little to revive growth and in some cases served only to heighten concern about China’s challenges. FULL REPORT