China's manufacturing activity expanded in October, two separate business surveys showed Friday, adding to fresh signs that the country's economic recovery is on track. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 51.4 percent on a 100-point scale last month, the highest level in 18 months, the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing activity, while a figure below 50 represents contraction. The index, which is a closely watched barometer of the health of the Chinese economy, marked the highest since April 2012 and grew for the fourth consecutive month. British bank HSBC Ltd., separately said its own final PMI for October improved to a seven-month high of 50.9 percent, up from final reading of 50.2 percent in September and unchanged from a preliminary flash estimate released last week. "The final PMI rose to a seven-month high in October, with the stronger momentum of manufacturing growth translating into the first expansion of employment since March," HSBC economist Hongbin Qu said in a statement. "This in turn should support private consumption growth in the coming months. China is on track for a gradual growth recovery," he added. Meanwhile, Zhao Qinghe, a senior National Bureau of Statistics statistician, attributed the strong official PMI to expanding production, and confidence boosted by government measures this year to stabilize growth and restructure the economy, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. "Although the manufacturing PMI rose for a fourth month, forces that drove up the index were not balanced, as sub-indices other than production were relatively weak," Zhao was quoted as saying in Beijing.