China’s factory activity edged back into growth in September after two months of contraction, official data showed Friday, but the country’s strict Covid curbs continued to weigh heavily on demand. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) — a key gauge of manufacturing in the world’s second-biggest economy — came in at 50.1, up from August’s 49.4 and just exceeding the 50-point mark separating growth from contraction, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Snap lockdowns in a number of Chinese cities have dulled consumer enthusiasm and business confidence, though some relief has come with the end of a scorching summer heat wave that prompted some areas to ration power to factories. “With a basket of policies to stabilise the economy continuing to take effect and the receding impact of high temperatures, the manufacturing sector has somewhat rebounded, pushing the PMI back into expansionary territory,” NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said in a statement. But official data showed the non-manufacturing PMI posted markedly slower growth, falling to 50.6 in September from 52.6 the previous month.