HONG KONG (TheStreet) -- China's manufacturing activity eased slightly in December, although it remained in expansion mode, according to a survey of the country's purchasing managers.The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing Saturday said its purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 53.9 in December from 55.2 in November, the Associated Press reported. It was the first decline in five months, the AP noted. A reading of more than 50 indicates expansion in the economy, while a reading of less than 50 indicates contraction. A subindex of input prices for raw materials, energy and supplies declined to 66.7 last month from 73.5 in November, the AP reported. That should be good news for China's policymakers, who are trying to put the brakes on inflation, which rose to a 28-month high of 5.1% in November. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll As part of its inflation-fighting efforts, China raised interest rates for the second time in three months on Dec. 25. It has also raised bank reserve requirements multiple times this year. A rival survey of purchasing managers released earlier this week also showed a slower pace of expansion in December.