BEIJING (AFP) - China's non-manufacturing sector contracted in November, according to data released Saturday, as Beijing begins to ease its monetary policy amid signs of a slowdown in the world's second largest economy. The Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 49.7 last month, a fall of eight points from October, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding, while a reading below 50 suggests a contraction. The non-manufacturing sector includes transport, property, retail, catering and the software industry, among others. The data follows figures released Thursday showing China's manufacturing activity contracted in November for the first time in 33 months, as exporters are hit by slowing demand due to the eurozone debt crisis and US economic woes. New orders in the non-manufacturing sector fell to 47.2 in November, down 5.3 points over the month, according to data from the federation based on a survey of about 1,200 companies in 20 industries, Xinhua news agency reported. "Less active consumption in the off-season and the sluggish demand in the construction sector combined to weigh down the index," federation vice president Cai Jin was quoted as saying. The slowdown in exports and economic growth, which eased to an annual 9.1 percent in the third quarter from 10.4 percent last year, has led the government to begin an easing of monetary policy, which had been focused on fighting inflation. China's central bank on Wednesday announced the first cut in bank reserve requirements in almost three years to help boost lending and spur growth. to counter alarming signs of a domestic slowdown and the crisis in key export markets. Analysts had forecast such a move after the central bank said recently it would "fine-tune" monetary policy amid growing concerns that the weak global economy is increasing the risk of a sharp slowdown in China. China, anxious about rising living costs, has pulled on a variety of levers to curb price rises in the past two years, including hiking interest rates five times since October 2010.