Beijing — Growth in China’s manufacturing sector cooled more than expected in October in the face of tighter pollution rules that are forcing many steel mills, smelters and factories to curtail production over the winter. While still easily in expansionary territory, China’s monthly official factory survey also showed unexpected weakness in new export orders, which had been expected to pick up heading into the peak year-end shopping season. The data gives global investors their first look at business conditions in China at the start of the fourth quarter, with the government’s punishing war on smog adding to uncertainty amid early signs of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. "Some regions stepped up pollution controls this month, with firms adjusting, halting or staggering production," National Statistics Bureau official Zhao Qinghe said in comments published with the data. Zhao said that activity in energy-intensive and polluting industries slowed in October, while hi...

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