BEIJING (AP) - A survey of Chinese manufacturers has found their activity contracted in December in a new sign the world's second-largest economy is slowing despite government efforts to shore up growth.

BEIJING (AP) A survey of Chinese manufacturers has found their activity contracted in December in a new sign the world's second-largest economy is slowing despite government efforts to shore up growth.

HSBC Corp. said Wednesday that its monthly purchasing managers' index fell to 49.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. It was down from November's break-even 50 reading and the first contraction since May.

Beijing is trying to steer the economy to slower, more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption instead of exports and investment. But after growth fell to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the third quarter, Chinese leaders cut interest rates unexpectedly in November in an apparent effort to stop the decline.