The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector came in at 50.3 in December, up from 50.1 in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
The rise came after the country had revved up supports to ensure adequate supply, stabilize market prices and ease the pressure of companies, said NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
In November, the sub-index measuring purchase prices of major raw materials dropped 4.8 percentage points from November to 48.1. The ex-factory price index fell to 45.5, down 3.4 percentage points from last month.
This is the second consecutive month that the two indices saw a decline.
The sub-index for production reached 51.4, remaining in the expansion area, which reflects the growth momentum of the manufacturing sector.
Friday's data also showed that the PMI for China's non-manufacturing sector came in at 52.7 in December, up from 52.3 in November.
The overall business climate in the non-manufacturing sector has rebounded this month, said Zhao.
The services sector witnessed a faster recovery. In December, the sub-index for business activities in the services sector reached 52, up 0.9 percentage points from that in November.
Sectors such as aviation, accommodation, catering and entertainment, which were greatly affected by the pandemic last month, saw market activities improve in December. Their sub-indexes for business activities returned to expansionary territory, according to the NBS.
But on the demand side, the sub-index for new orders has stayed below 50 for seven consecutive months, indicating that the foundation of recovery in the services sector is not firm, and enterprises have maintained a cautious outlook for the market, said Zhao.
The construction industry expanded at a slower pace due to the cold weather and upcoming holidays, with the sub-index for business activities in the construction sector standing at 56.3 in December, 2.8 percentage points lower from the previous month.
The government policies to ensure supplies and stabilize prices have relieved certain cost pressures for construction companies, Zhao noted. The sub-index tracking input prices of the construction sector has remained in contraction for two straight months.