China’s non-manufacturing industries expanded at a slower pace for a second month, as export orders declined and weakness in real estate countered strength in retailing and leasing, an official survey indicated. The purchasing managers’ index fell to 55.2 in May from 56.1 in April, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said in a statement on Sunday in Beijing. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. “Although the index fell slightly in May, it was still at a relatively high level of 55.2 which is in line with the general trend of steady growth in non-manufacturing industries,” Cai Jin, a federation vice chairman, said in the statement. “Market demand remains steady and reflects the structural changes in our country’s economy.” Non-manufacturing industries account for about 40 per cent of the economy, according to the federation. The PMI, which is seasonally adjusted, is based on a survey of about 1,200 companies covering 27 service industries including construction, telecommunications and transport. Premier Wen Jiabao and the State Council, or Cabinet, warned last month that the economy faces increasing downward pressure. They pledged to put a greater focus on growth and “actively” boost domestic demand. The National Development and Reform Commission may be accelerating construction approvals as part of measures to counter a slowdown that Credit Suisse Group AG estimates will push economic growth down to seven per cent or “slightly below” this quarter compared with a year earlier. Expansion moderated to 8.1 per cent in the first three months of the year, the fifth straight quarterly slowdown. Inflation indicators in both the non-manufacturing and manufacturing PMIs declined in May, giving policy makers more room to implement stimulus to combat the slowdown.