An official survey has found that Chinese manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in nearly two years in August.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday that its monthly "purchasing managers index" rose to a 22-month high of 50.4 last month from 49.9 in July.

The survey, which focuses on China's large state-owned enterprises, uses a 100-point scale with numbers below the 50-point mark indicating contraction.

Separately, the private Caixin/Markit survey, which focuses mostly on small, privately owned companies, eased to 50.0 last month from 50.6 the month before.

Data on China's outsize manufacturing sector is closely watched for insights on the state of the broader economy, which expanded at a steady 6.7 percent pace in the most recent quarter.