China’s manufacturing activity expanded in March for the first time since September, a further sign that the world’s second-largest economy is stabilizing.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 50.8 from 49.1 in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement Sunday. That beat the median forecast of 50.1 by economists in a Bloomberg survey and was the best reading since March last year.

A gauge of nonmanufacturing activity climbed from the previous month to 53, compared with an estimate of 51.5. A reading above 50 suggests an expansion from the previous month, while a figure below that denotes contraction.