Manufacturing activity in mainland China was moderately down in August as the country struggled from the impacts of extensive flooding and the ongoing global health disaster, authorities reported on Monday.

Economic output remained generally weak as local demand helped to cushion sluggish orders from the exporter sector that is likewise reeling from the ill effects of the virus, government data showed.

On the other hand, China's services sector, the non-factory gauge, was up 55.2 on a 100-point scale, it's most impressive level since 2018, based on figures by the National Bureau of Statistics. Figures of more than 50 suggest that activity is climbing.

The tightly monitored Purchasing Managers' Index is a critical measure of factory output in the second-biggest economy in the globe, which has yet to fully recover after dropping in February because of pandemic-triggered lockdowns.

China, where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected in the early days of December this year, was the first country to order a large-scale lockout to combat the disease. It is also the first government to immediately carry out measures to reactivate its business sector after confirming it contained the virus in March.

The mainland's massive industrial landscape is gradually returning to levels reached before the virus crippled key segments of the market, as its stimulus-propelled economic rebound and strong exports boost recovery initiatives, although on a bumpy surface.

According to Bank of Communications in Shanghai economist Liu Xuezhi, both China's factory and services PMIs are seen to normalize within expansionary regions, with the prospect of a "mild acceleration."

Liu added that legislators may not approve releasing any sizeable relief package before the year ends, which, he stressed, they should not do, and instead prioritize the country's existing economic programs. 

National Bureau of Statistics senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said that demand in China was starting to bounce back and exports are slowly improving. Corporate confidence and a forecast for improved business activities have also been on the rise, he added.