Growth in British manufacturing unexpectedly eased to its slowest pace in eight months in March and prices paid by factories tumbled, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell in March to 55.3, its lowest since July last year and below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
February’s reading was sharply cut to 56.2 from an originally reported 56.9. It was the fourth month in a row that the index fell although it remained comfortably above the 50 mark that denotes growth.
In another reminder of strength in the sector, the pace of hiring, which in February hit a 33-month high, faded only slightly through March. Survey compiler Markit said the slower growth in the sector was mainly centered on companies that make machinery and equipment.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said the latest reading would likely disappoint investors but should be seen in the context of near record growth rates seen in the second half of 2013.
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