HONG KONG (AP) - A survey of factory purchasing managers confirms that Chinese manufacturing shrank this month for the first time in half a year.

HONG KONG (AP) A survey of factory purchasing managers confirms that Chinese manufacturing shrank this month for the first time in half a year.

The HSBC survey released Thursday backs up a preliminary version earlier this month that unsettled global investors by raising fears the world's No. 2 economy is slowing.

The purchasing managers' index fell to 49.5 from 50.5 in December. The index uses a 100-point scale on which readings above 50 indicate growth.

It's the index's lowest level since July.

The report said the reading "signaled a deterioration of business conditions" in China's huge manufacturing industry.

The reading was lower than 49.6 in the early version released last week that, combined with several other big economic worries, led to several days of sharp declines on world stock markets.