French manufacturing growth slowest in a year in March,…

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Britain's factories increased production unexpectedly last month despite the sector experiencing its weakest quarter in a year, with signs the growth spurt enjoyed towards the end of 2017 has fizzled out.

"The poor performance in the sector was also driven by a decline in new business placed at Malaysian manufacturing firms". "The backlog of orders index continued a 14-month expansion with its highest reading since May 2004, when it registered 63%".

"Central to the downward movement in the headline PMI was a fall in manufacturing production for the first time in eight months". The latest reports show the nation's overall economic health was stronger in the final quarter of previous year than earlier indications.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) inched up to 55.1 in March from a downwardly revised 55.0 in February, beating the 54.5 consensus in a preliminary Reuters poll of economists.

China's manufacturing sector has seen its weakest growth in production and new orders in four months, and export sales have increased only slightly.

Euro zone economic growth has already peaked, a Reuters poll found last month, but the European Central Bank will probably decide this summer to slash its bond purchases if things develop as expected, policymaker Ewald Nowotny said last week.

Meanwhile, input prices increased in March, thus continuing the recent trend.

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Europe's manufacturing boom stumbled in March as optimism waned and demand ebbed owing to a powerful winter storm, surveys showed on Tuesday, but expansion was still broad-based across the continent.

Here's a look at PMI across major manufacturing countries for March.

Backlogs of work at euro area manufacturers also increased during March, taking the current sequence of expansion to nearly three years.

The pound has gained more than 4 percent against the US dollar since the end of 2017. "Indeed, amid a slower expected pace of recovery in consumer spending, IHS Markit marginally downgraded its real GDP forecast to 7.3% for fiscal year 2017/2018". Still, charges rose at only a modest pace, to suggest that manufacturers' margins remained under pressure.

The Caixin survey showed that staff numbers at Chinese manufacturing companies declined at the fastest pace since August amid reports of cost-cutting plans.

As has been the case since last November, Indian manufacturers raised their purchasing activity.