China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector remained flat at 51.4 percent in November, the highest since May 2012, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Sunday.
The figure was the same with that of October, which hit a 18-month high.
China's manufacturing PMI has turned stable after rising for four consecutive months, showing a steady growth trend in manufacturing. A figure above 50 percent signals expansion.
Zhao Qinghe, a senior NBS statistician, attributed the strong PMI to expanded production, confidence boosted by government measures this year to stabilize growth and restructure the economy, and large-scale enterprises' active performances.
The sub-index for production rose for a fifth month to 54.5 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from October.
As production picked up, companies bought more raw materials, driving the sub-index for material purchase up 0.9 percentage point to 53.6.
"Although the manufacturing PMI rose for a fifth month, forces that drove up the index were not balanced and the foundation not solid enough," Zhao said.
The NBS sub-index for raw material inventories was 47.8 percent, dropping by 0.8 percentage point from last month, and that for small businesses fell for a fourth month, both of which were still under 50 percent.
The sub-index for new orders dropped 0.2 percentage points to 52.3 percent and business outlook was down by 2.6 percentage points from a month earlier to 54.9 percent in November.
"More measures should be taken to tap market potential to spur domestic consumption and stabilize the steady growth," Zhao added.