United Kingdom manufacturing activity softens in early 2018

Strong Canadian manufacturing growth maintained in March

The UK manufacturing sector has grown steadily during March, according to the latest figures.

The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) declined to a five-month low of 51 in March from 52.1 in February. According to a Purchasing Managers' Index published last week, manufacturing growth in the euro zone dropped to its lowest since July a year ago although it remained higher than that of the UK. This was 0.9 percent less than the 1.3 percent growth in the last 3 months of a year ago.

Chinese manufacturing activity slowed in March as weak demand weighed on the world's second largest economy, independent data showed on Monday (Apr 2).

However, the average reading for the first quarter of 2018 was the lowest in a year.

"The outlook for manufacturing looks decent on the foreign demand side, but domestic conditions could prove challenging over the coming months", Archer said.

While there is an increase in new export orders during the said month, Dodhia said, "On a negative note, further advances in trade disputes could potentially weigh on sales to worldwide clients".

A Confederation of British Industry survey last month also suggested growth in manufacturing moderated recently.

Chinese companies continued to increase their selling prices in March as part of attempts to pass on higher cost burdens to clients.

Most economists polled by Reuters think the central bank will raise interest rates to a post-financial crisis high of 0.75pc in May.

Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, said: "The latest PMI survey provided further evidence that United Kingdom manufacturing has entered a softer growth phase so far this year".

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