A private survey of Chinese manufacturing hits a 8-month low

STR - AFP - Getty Images

October 12, 2016: A a Chinese worker making soft toys at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province.

A closely watched index on China economic activity hit a eight-month low for July.

The private Caixin/Markit Purchasing Manager's Index came in at 50.8, down from 51.0 in June.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to hit 50.8 for July.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction.

On Tuesday, China released its official PMI, which showed manufacturing activity fell to 51.2 in July from 51.5 in June.

China's official PMI gauge focuses on large companies and state-owned enterprises, while the reading by Caixin and IHS Markit focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Economic data from China is being closely watched amid trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

U.S. tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products took effect on July 6. China retaliated with duties of its own on the same value of American goods.

President Donald Trump's administration countered that it is preparing possible tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese goods. In July, the president said he was willing to slap tariffs on every Chinese-made product shipped to the U.S.

There are fears that the trade spat between the world's two largest economies could hit markets and even the global economy.

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