The Caixin-Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 47.0 against a 47.3 final reading booked in August. Markets had predicted the preliminary data to show a rise to 47.6 in September.
The reading is the lowest level seen since March 2009.
A reading below 50 in the Caixin-Markit index signals a contraction in activity, while a reading above 50 - last seen in February - signals an expansion.
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