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Global factory activity rises in December for first time since May: PMI

LONDON (Reuters) - Global manufacturing activity expanded last month for the first time since May, supported by solid output gains in China, the United States and Britain, a business survey showed on Wednesday.

JPMorgan's Global Manufacturing PMI, produced with research and supply management organizations, rose to 50.2 in December from November's 49.6, nudging above the 50-mark that divides growth from contraction for the first time in seven months.

"PMI survey indices for output, new orders and employment continued to lift at the end of 2012, as the global manufacturing sector stabilizes following a softer patch in the middle of the year," said David Hensley, director of global economics coordination at JPMorgan.

As output rose for the second straight month, factories increased staffing levels for the first time since June, the survey found.

Earlier data showed U.S. manufacturing ended 2012 on a modest upswing, as increased demand at home and abroad helped the sector to grow in December at its fastest rate in seven months.

But euro zone factories sank deeper into recession with new orders tumbling - a sharp contrast to continuing signs of revival in China.

The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia.

(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; editing by Stephen Nisbet)

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