China's manufacturing activity growth slowed in November, preliminary results of a business survey by Markit Economics and HSBC Ltd., showed Thursday, casting shadows on recovery in the world's second-largest economy. The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity of the world's second-biggest economy, slipped to 50.4 percent from a seven-month high of 50.9 in October. But the November index still stayed above the key 50 percent line. A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates growth from the previous month, while a reading below 50 represents contraction in China's manufacturing sector; The index is a closely watched barometer of the health of the Chinese economy. "China's growth momentum softened a little in November, but this is still the second-highest PMI reading in seven months," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement accompanying the data. PMI moderated due to "the weak new export orders and slowing pace of restocking activities," Qu added. China's economy expanded 7.7 percent in the first nine months from the same period last year, which was above the government-set 2013 growth target of 7.5 percent.