UK fac­tory out­put low­est in Fe­bru­ary

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

U.K. man­u­fac­tur­ing grew the least in al­most three years in Fe­bru­ary and new or­ders barely rose, high­light­ing the fragility of the econ­omy as it heads into an un­cer­tain year.

Markit Eco­nom­ics said its fac­tory in­dex dropped to 50.8 from 52.9, mark­ing the weak­est read­ing since April 2013. A gauge of new or­ders was just above the key 50 line that di­vides ex­pan­sion from con­trac­tion while em­ploy­ment shrank for a se­cond month.

The monthly Pur­chas­ing Man­agers In­dex will raise ques­tions about the sus­tain­abil­ity of the eco­nomic ex­pan­sion as ex­port de­mand fal­ters in main­land Europe and some emerg­ing mar­kets. Un­cer­tainty re­lated to Bri­tain's ref­er­en­dum on its Euro­pean Union mem­ber­ship could fur­ther un­der­mine the out­look.

"The breadth of the slow­down is es­pe­cially wor­ri­some," said Rob Dob­son, a se­nior econ­o­mist at Markit.

"The do­mes­tic mar­ket is show­ing signs of weak­en­ing while ex­port busi­ness con­tin­ued to fall."

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