British manufacturing activity barely grew last month, adding to signs that the economy is slowing in the run-up to a referendum on European Union membership, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The Markit/CIPS manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose more than expected to 50.1 in May from April’s slightly upwardly revised 49.4, the lowest reading since early 2013. Economists in a Reuters poll expected a 49.6 figure.
But the index was only a fraction above the 50 mark which separates growth from contraction, and below levels seen at the start of 2016. Official figures show manufacturing failed to contribute to overall growth throughout 2015 and early 2016.