China's industrial added value expanded 8.6 percent year on year in the first two months of 2014, official figures revealed on Thursday. On a month-to-month basis, industrial added value in February edged up slightly by 0.61 percent from the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said. China uses industrial added value to measure business activities of designated large enterprises with an annual turnover of at least 20 million yuan (3.26 million U.S. dollars) each. The statistics showed that the added value of state-owned enterprises saw 4.4 percent growth in the two months, while joint stock companies ended the period with 9.9 percent growth. The manufacturing sector saw 9.8-percent growth in added value from January to February, while that of the mining industry grew by 3.5 percent, according to the NBS data. Regionally, industrial added value from January to February grew by 7.8, 9.4 and 10.3 percent in east, central and west China, respectively, the NBS said. Xu Gao, chief macroeconomic analyst with Everbright Securities, said the pressure of the country's economic downturn intensified as the country's manufacturing growth retreated to an eight-month low in February. China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector dropped to 50.2 percent in February, slowing for the third month running, while the HSBC/Markit China flash manufacturing PMI dropped below 50 percent for two consecutive months. PMI figures above 50 percent indicate expansion while those below 50 percent indicate contraction. Shen Minggao, chief economist at Citibank, said that China's ongoing reforms will be carried out amid steady economic growth, as stressed in this year's government work report by Premier Li Keqiang. This year's growth target, set out by Li at the annual parliamentary session last Wednesday, was set at 7.5 percent for the third year in a row. The slowing economic expansion is still within a rational range as the country is facing a structural adjustment, said Jia Kang, director of the Research Institute for Fiscal Science at China's Ministry of Finance.