UK factory output lowest in February
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."