Chinese authorities have introduced measures to support the economy in the past year, with a particular focus on helping to boost smaller firms. But Friday’s release of the Caixin measure indicated that the policies introduced so far to support the Chinese economy have not worked, said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin.

“On the whole, countercyclical economic policy hasn’t had a significant effect,” Zhong said in a statement. “China is likely to launch more fiscal and monetary measures and speed up their implementation. Yet the stance of stabilizing leverage and strict regulation hasn’t changed, which means the weakening trend of China’s economy will continue.”

Jian Chang, Barclays’ chief China economist, agreed that Beijing needs to do more. She told CNBC’s “Street Signs” that Barclays is expecting China’s central bank to cut benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points twice this year — in the first and second quarters, respectively — to further boost the economy.

But such supportive measures may take time to be effective, economists said. Economic growth in China could stay weak in the first half of 2019 given both external and domestic challenges, Citi economists wrote in a Thursday note. Last year, growth in China slowed to 6.6 percent — the lowest expansion rate in 28 years.

China’s manufacturing sector is not the only one feeling the pinch. Other export-oriented economies such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also reported weaker PMI numbers and lackluster factory outlook for 2019.

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