UK manufacturing activity soared to its fastest for 15 years in March, according to a survey, the BBC reports.
The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 57.2 last month, from 56.5 in February, and was ahead of analysts’ forecasts.
It was the best monthly growth figure since October 1994.
The UK data was matched by the release of similar surveys showing faster manufacturing growth in the 16-country eurozone and China.
The survey, from Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, also found that new order growth in the UK was near a six-peak.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said: “The rebound is coming from a broad base by sector and company size, raising hopes that this will prove sustainable.”
The PMI is calculated from data on new orders, production, employment, and purchasing. An index reading above 50 indicates that activity is rising. Anything under 50 shows contraction.
Export order growth fell from February’s high, but the survey found that sterling’s weakness was still benefiting UK exporters.
On Tuesday, the Office for National Statistics revised up its forecast of economic growth for the final quarter of 2009, saying that the economy grew by 0.4%.
PMI surveys released for other economies showed that manufacturing output within the eurozone grew at its fastest pace in over three years last month. The index leapt to 56.6 from 54.2 in February.
Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, saw its best manufacturing growth for almost 10 years in March, rising to 60.2 from 57.2 in February.
France, the second-biggest economy in Europe, saw its manufacturing sector expand at a pace not seen since November 2006.
China’s huge manufacturing industry also continues to grow. Its PMI rose to 55.1 in March, from 52.0 a month earlier, a sharp rise that is likely to heighten concerns that Beijing may be forced to raise interest rates over the coming months.
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