Chinese manufacturing sector operating conditions continued to improve in November, albeit at a marginal pace. Output and new orders both rose only modestly, leading to a softer expansion in buying activity. At the same time, companies faced a further sharp increase in average input costs, that led to a notable rise in selling prices. Efforts to cut costs contributed to another fall in staffing levels, with the rate of decline quickening to a three-month record. Subdued growth in new work and a sustained fall in employment coincided with a reduction in business confidence towards the one-year outlook. Notably, firms expressed the joint-weakest degree of optimism on record.