However, the report cautioned that there were still signs that "demand across the construction sector remained subdued, with total new work rising only marginally in April".
The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, compiled by IHS Markit, rose to 51.6 last month from March's 51.0, as predicted by a Reuters poll and above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction for a ninth straight month.
China's manufacturing sector showed a further marginal improvement in operating conditions last month, driven by accelerated output, although weaker demand in worldwide markets stagnated exports, according to an unofficial leading economic indicator released on Wednesday.
The increase in new business was the first recorded by the survey so far in 2018.
Reflective of stronger client demand, new business received by manufacturers rose at an accelerated rate that was the most rapid since September 2014.
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West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 80 cents on the day at $68.90 a barrel. Brent crude futures were up 61 cents at $75.04 a barrel by 1:43 p.m.
The growth of output and new orders eased, while business optimism dipped to a five-month low. Moreover, the rate of selling price inflation edged up from March's three-month low.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that its key manufacturing index fell to 57.3 in April from 59.3 in March.
Zhao Qinghe, an economist with the NBS, said that as the nation's manufacturing sector maintains stable growth, especially among high-quality and high-tech companies, the profitability of manufacturers improved during the past month.
Cai Jin, Vice President of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), said that the index figures for non-manufacturing industries has remained stable at 54-percent for eight consecutive months, indicating that China's domestic demand has gradually solidified as the Chinese economy becomes more service-oriented. Panelists also said backlogs of work declined for the 47th consecutive month in April as there were sufficient resources to complete work in time. On the price front, inflation rates for both input costs and output charges softened.
The weaker growth signalled by the headline PMI was mainly due to slower (yet still robust) increases in new orders and employment. "At the same time, IHS Markit anticipates that widening interest rate differentials will lead to a further depreciation of the Indonesian rupiah this year", Dodhia said.