The economic activity in China’s manufacturing sector expanded for a third straight month in May, albeit at a softer pace than it did in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Sunday.

The NBS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) edged lower to 50.6 from 50.8 in April and came in slightly worse than the market expectation of 51.

Further details of the publication revealed that the Non-Manufacturing PMI improved to 53.6 from 53.2 in the previous month to show continuing expansion at a robust pace in the service sector.